Sleep is a problem.
In fact, it’s a major medical health concern in our country. Nearly a quarter of the 80 million Americans who struggle nightly from sleep disorders suffer from life-threatening obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Treating sleep apnea in your practice is a low-risk, high-yield opportunity for you to add an additional stream of revenue while improving your patients’ overall health.
A good night’s rest can reduce your patients’ risk factors for obesity, stroke and heart attack. Obstructive sleep apnea causes patients to stop breathing multiple times during the night, placing great strain on the body. People with sleep apnea are four times more likely to have a heart attack, three times as likely to suffer from stroke and seven times as likely to be involved in a car accident. You can significantly reduce your patients’ risk by testing them for sleep apnea and treating the condition with a simple oral appliance.
To get started, you need just a few basic courses in sleep-apnea training, often available over a weekend.
After you’ve been trained to screen for and treat sleep apnea, you can have your patients undergo tests by coordinating with sleep centers in your community, or you can offer your patients the option of taking a home sleep study.
In my practice, I offer my patients home sleep studies. This involves them taking home testing equipment (and returning it the next day). I send the electronic results of their tests to a qualified sleep physician for interpretation and diagnosis.
If patients turn out to have sleep apnea, and they qualify for an oral appliance, I begin by fitting them with an oral appliance. This is a very effective treatment and has higher compliance rates and higher success rates than C-PAP machines, which have long been a traditional form of treatment for OSA.
Among the several types of available oral appliances, I use Tap-T, Somnodent, and the Moses appliances in my practice. I prefer the Moses because it allows the tongue to be placed without obstructing breathing passages.
Your return on investment on oral appliances is upward of four or five times the lab expense. Most medical insurances reimburse patients for the expense of the dental appliance, making it more affordable for them to get the treatment they need for a good night’s reset and a longer, healthier life.
I’d love to hear from you. Do you or someone you know have any symptoms of sleep apnea? Please comment below.