Sleep apnea is a medical condition. It is the absence of breathing (usually by obstruction) for ten seconds or longer at least 5 times (often 30 to 60 times) per hour. This condition helps hasten severe heart problems, diabetes, weight gain, daytime sleepiness etc. Many people stop breathing fifty or more times an hour for much longer than 10 seconds. Physicians diagnose and treat this condition by prescribing for the patient a CPAP machine. This machine pumps room air that is pressurized and is given through some sort of mask. This pressurized air helps by not letting the patient’s airway close or obstruct. Patients, however, often have a very hard time using CPAP machines. They don’t like the mask on their face or they can’t stand the air blowing in their face and eyes. They hate carrying around their machine when they travel or they are just out of luck if the power is out or they have no way to plug their machine in. These types of problems are common.
Since 2006 sleep physicians have recognized the value in treating their C-PAP failure patients with oral orthotic devices made by specially trained dentists who have an understanding about sleep apnea and the associated medical complications. These dentists also refer patients to sleep physicians for proper diagnosis. With a request from the physician, the dentist makes an oral sleep device for the patient. The patient is then returned to the physician for testing that confirms their sleep apnea is well treated with the oral device. Sleep dentists need to be skilled in the conditions and workings of the TMJ joints. They must also know how to work with medical insurance including Medicare, to get payment for the patient’s treatment.
I am the only Board Certified Dentist in dental sleep medicine in Washington County. Call 435-634-8338 today for your free consultation appointment.