At your last dental exam, your dentist mentioned to you that the wear on your teeth appears to be from night grinding, or bruxism. You discussed the possibility of sleep apnea and how much you snore.
Maybe he even told you about the new sleep appliances that can help with sleep apnea. But rather than setting an appointment to get the appliance, he suggested that you talk to your doctor and set up a sleep study instead.
Why the big run around?
Health and Body Concerns Take Time
In today’s world, we are used to instant gratification. Anything we want, we can usually get. Right. Now. From your dinner or groceries to major appliances, you can buy immediately and have it delivered. But anything that has to do with your health and wellness, deserves time and deliberation to ensure you receive the best and most appropriate care.
During a sleep study, sensors will be attached to your head and body and a camera will capture any night waking episodes. The sensors will produce hundreds of pages of data on things like oxygen levels, blood pressure, pulse, muscle movement, eye movement, etc. All this data will help determine a few different things like:
- Is your problem obstructive sleep apnea or something else entirely? Obstructive sleep apnea is not the only condition that can cause snoring, bruxism, night waking, morning headaches and afternoon sleepiness. If you don’t have sleep apnea, a sleep appliance will be expensive and of very little value to you.
- How severe is the sleep apnea? Sleep appliances work best for mild to moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea. Severe cases are best treated by a sleep doctor.
- What treatment or therapy would work best? Depending on the structure of your airway and soft tissues, a sleep appliance might not help you well enough.
Why Do I Have to See a Specialist?
While we can help you treat symptoms of sleep apnea with an oral appliance to reposition your jaw, your condition must first be diagnosed by a medical doctor. During your visit at our office, Dr. Agarwal can screen for signs of obstructive sleep apnea and make an appropriate referral, if necessary.
Not only do we want to make sure we are providing the right treatment for you, we also need to be able to justify any action to the insurance company. Sleep apnea is a medical condition, so your medical insurance would likely bear at least part of the cost of the sleep appliance. To do so, we must provide them a prescription for the appliance, written by a medical doctor- your sleep physician. Oral sleep appliances are prescribed for people who can’t or won’t use a CPAP.
But I Can’t Sleep In A Lab!
Sleep studies are not as uncomfortable as you might think. The rooms are very much like hotel rooms instead of hospital rooms. However, if you are unable to rest at a sleep lab, you may be able to request a home sleep test. You’ll still need to sleep with sensors on, but you’ll be in your own bed and environment where relaxation is easier.
Whether you go to a sleep lab or have your test at home, isn’t it time you asked for help with your snoring and sleep problems? Keep reading Dr. Agarwal’s blog series to find out if oral sleep appliances are right for you and how to get started!