Sleep Apnea Education Leads to Better Acceptance of Treatment
Misconceptions about medical or dental care can be one of the main reasons for rejection of treatment plans or non-compliance in patients. It’s no different with sleep apnea management. In fact, the better that dentists and physicians become educated on the subject of Continuous Open Airway Therapy (COAT)® with a SomnoDent oral device, the more efficient they will be become at educating their patients and increasing treatment plan acceptance rates.
One effective way to increase awareness and knowledge is to address common misunderstandings or assumptions related to the treatment pathway and insurance coverage of oral appliance therapy. These misconceptions can be held by dentists, physicians, and patients alike.
- “The Patient Will Have to Go into a Clinic for an Overnight Sleep Study”
This misconception is probably one of the biggest falsehoods related to sleep apnea treatment. Depending on where your dental practice is located, a home sleep study may be all that is necessary to start COAT (Continuous Open Airway Therapy)®. Such a kit would be handed out at your practice, the patient would take it home to record their sleep data, return it, and then be read by a licensed sleep physician. If you are not already working with a sleep physician, you can contact us and we will provide you with a list of contacts.
2. “It Will be Too Expensive”
Oral devices such as those manufactured by SomnoMed may actually be covered by Medicare or your patient’s medical insurance upon a proper diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In fact, SomnoMed’s Medical Billing Series, a free SomAdvantage member webinar series, [insert www.somnomedadvantage.com URL] guides dentists and their offices through the ins and outs of filing medical claims within their dental practice. As such, the process becomes more affordable for your patients and streamlined for your staff. Leading to better outcomes for your patients and practice.
3. “If Someone Can’t Use a CPAP, They Probably Can’t Use a SomnoDent Oral Sleep Appliance”
Oral appliance therapy is a proven way to help treat obstructive sleep apnea in individuals that are CPAP intolerant (which can be as high as 50% of people prescribed CPAP.) Alternatively, wearing an oral appliance that positions the jaw in a way to naturally increase air flow is a less-invasive and quieter option. In fact, 95% of patients report regular use of their SomnoDent oral device.
4. “Dentists Can’t Treat Sleep Apnea”
When it comes to custom fitted oral appliances, dentists are the natural expert. Although dental practitioners cannot diagnose sleeping disorders, they can effectively screen for them, order sleep studies, and make appropriate recommendations for treatment. As such, dentists play a key role in bridging the gap between the undiagnosed sleep apnea patient and finding an effective treatment alternative to CPAP.
Educating your patients (and referring physicians) on this subject can help you provide enhanced care that reduces the risk of serious health consequences later on. Follow up with your referring physicians by providing a note or records that reflect your patients’ success, so that they can see the results for themselves and be more inclined to provide future referrals. Additionally, we strongly encourage dentists to have their patients report successes to their physicians and to have a follow-up sleep study after COAT begins.
5. “It Doesn’t Matter If Sleep Apnea is Treated at All”
If your patients are struggling with high blood pressure, fatigue, obesity, or any other number of physical ailments, it is important to point out how their quality of sleep may play into the situation. Undiagnosed sleep apnea can significantly contribute to the worsening of such conditions, making it difficult or impossible for your patients to control other health problems. Trying to “tough it out” could have serious consequences. In fact, there are many dangers to leaving sleep apnea untreated.
To learn more about providing your patients with SomnoDent oral appliances for the treatment of OSA, access our exclusive training and resources, including a Medical Billing Series and the SMART Practice Series, by becoming a SomAdvantage member today.