Treatment Of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a life threatening condition. When left untreated it takes an average of eight years off a person’s life. This is why we ask each and every one of our new patients, no matter what their reason for coming to us, “Has anyone ever said that you snore?” We’ve developed a specific protocol to not only treat our sleep disorder patients but educate them as we follow through all of our diagnostic procedures.
Your First Appointment
The initial appointment begins with a thorough interview, which includes the following:
- A detailed medical history
- Blood pressure, neck circumference and blood oxygen levels
- Review of the Epworth Sleepiness Scale
- Has the patient had a recent sleep study?
- Does the patient have a crowded oropharynx?
- Review of findings with the patient
- Discuss types of sleep disorders and their implications
- The doctor then begins his examination with external palpations of:
- Muscles of mastication
- Temporomandibular joints
- Cervical musculature
- Ligaments and Tendons
More Examination Inquires
- Intra oral examination
- Oral cancer screening
- Tongue position, shape, and size
- Swallow Assessment
- Oropharynx evaluation
- Size of the arches
- Palatal vaulting
- Health of the periodontal structures
- Status of the teeth
- Occlusal evaluation
Based on our findings we will develop a proper treatment plan. Many times it is necessary to refer the patient to a sleep physician for a consultation and possible sleep study. If the results of the sleep study establish that the patient has mild to moderate sleep apnea an oral appliance may be the best treatment option for that patient.
Additional diagnostic studies will be needed to decide which oral appliance therapy will best treat your sleep apnea. Airway orthotics (AO) come in varied designs. We use only FDA-approved appliances for our sleep apnea patients. While there are perhaps over a hundred different appliances, we only use those that are adjustable so that we can achieve the best treatment position. They are comfortable and worn while sleeping.
Who Will Pay for the Treatment?
Our insurance coordinator and appointment secretary will discuss medical insurance involvement and financial obligations with the patient as well as schedule all appropriate appointments.
If additional diagnostic studies are needed, you will then return for a second appointment. This is yet another very detailed appointment which may include the following:
- Joint Vibration Analysis (Used to measure any unusual activity occurring in the jaw joints)
- 3D Radiographs of the jaw joints, paranasal sinuses, cervical spine and related structures
- Digital scans or impressions of your mouth to create models of your teeth.
Once we find the correct position of the jaw or what Dr. Tregaskes calls “The sweet spot”, we take a positional record, which is used to accurately create the patient’s determined orthotics.
Once all diagnostic information is collected, Dr. Tregaskes will create a detailed letter outlinging history, findings and treatment recommendations. The day of insertion is usually about two to three weeks after the patient has completed all of the required diagnostic studies. We deliver the patient’s oral device, make any necessary adjustments, review the cleaning and care instructions and answer any questions the patient may have.
We like to see our patients back in one week (or sooner if required) to reevaluate and adjust the appliance if needed. Dr. Tregaskes will then determine when you will need to come back to our office. At each re-evaluation appointment, you will complete a progress report so we can continue to provide the best care possible.