Sleep apnea is not something to take lightly. It is said that this disease can take more years off of life than smoking or diabetes. Sleep apnea can ruin marriages, increase obesity, cause high blood pressure, and make an individual tired and depressed.
The first step in treating this serious disease is getting diagnosis through a sleep study. Sleep studies determine the presence and severity of the disease while giving a baseline from which improvement can be measured. Common options for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea include CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), surgery, and oral appliance therapy. All options are generally billed to and paid for by health insurances.
Orange County Oral Sleep Medicine was established as a resource for area sleep centers and individuals, to assist in oral appliance therapy (OAT) for the treatment of sleep apnea.
There are approximately 97 different oral sleep appliances (OSA). Which one works depends on the individual and his or her particular needs. It is important that sleep centers and patients have the support of a dentist who can not only manage sleep appliances properly, but also deal with insurances. We have the capabilities to do both. We do all medical insurance billing to make the process as easy as possible for patients and sleep centers.
Dr. Andrew Spath is a clinical professor at the UCLA School of Dentistry and has extensive training in oral sleep medicine. Dr. Spath is a great resource for patients concerned about potentially having sleep apnea, or those individuals who are managing the disease.
Step one: Referral for sleep study by primary care physician or Dr. Spath.
Step two: Sleep study and diagnosis.
Step three: Treatment with either CPAP or oral appliance therapy, based on severity of disease and patient preference. Dr. Spath will create the oral appliance that is best suited for the patient's needs.
Step four: Adjustments done as necessary.
Step five: Re-test with either home sleep study or a sleep study at the designated sleep center, to determine if the therapy is working.
Four to six month follow-up appointments for necessary adjustments.
What is oral appliance therapy?
OAT is a custom-fit nighttime appliance that positions the jaw to maintain an open airway.
Will my insurance pay for it?
Yes, with a completed sleep study and a referral by a physician, health insurance will pay a great majority or all of the cost of the appliance. We make the process as easy as possible preauthorizing, billing, and collecting from your health insurance company.
Who is a candidate for OAT?
Individuals who snore, have sleep apnea, or grind their teeth. OAT is the treatment of choice for cases of mild or moderate sleep apnea.
How is it different than a CPAP?
The oral appliance works differently. By positioning the mandible forward it removes the constriction that is preventing breathing and causing snoring. The other major distinction is that the oral appliance is much smaller and easier to tolerate. It is very similar to a night guard.
Can you tell me if I have sleep apnea?
We can identify risk factors but we cannot diagnose. Diagnosis must be made by a physician and only after a sleep study.
Where do I get a sleep study?
There are many sleep centers in Orange County with whom we work, and we would be happy to make the appropriate referral.
Here are a few of our favorite appliances:
Adjustable Herbst – The Adjustable Herbst sleep apnea device is often awarded for its durability and non-bulky design. It is used to increase the anterior, posterior, and vertical position of the jaw. It’s very useful for those patients who have been diagnosed with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea due to their soft palates collapsing.
SomnoMed is a very effective sleep apnea device for those who have a large jaw arch. The SomnoMed is made to be durable; the materials used are able to withstand the pressure produced when the jaw is clenched at night. It is used to treat both snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.
The TAP 3 is designed to hold the jaw in a forward position so that soft tissues, including the tongue, do not obstruct the throat. It is usually prescribed as an anti-snoring device, but is suitable to treat sleep apnea as well.