How do I get an oral appliance for sleep apnea? Do I have to ask my primary physician or go to a sleep center?
Doctors Answers (10)
Your primary physician is a good place to start if a referral is required by your insurance company. Otherwise, a consultation with a qualified sleep specialist is a great first step.
In the state of Idaho, dentists are the only licensed professionals allowed to perform or make oral appliances.
I've had Well over 100 patients tried oral appliances through the mail or over the Internet. I haven't had even one of those patients still using the oral appliance one month later. I strongly recommend going to a dentist. I find that 85 out of 100 patients are still using their oral appliance one year later.
Thank you for the question. There are dentist locally that specialize in oral appliances for sleep apnea.
The most important part of this answer is YOU MUST BE DIAGNOSED BY A MEDICAL PHYSICIAN. In my experience, getting an oral appliance ONCE DIAGNOSED is accomplished by 1)asking your sleep physician if they know of a dentist that he/she can refer you to, to fabricate the appliance. It is commonly called a "sleep orthotic". 2) Have a copy of the Sleep Study (which is standard of care to diagnose a Sleep Breathing Disorder or SBD) sent to the dentist who is trained in TMJ Disorders and Obstructive Sleep Apnea/Snoring therapies. or 3) BOTH. In our office, I require a referral from a medical health care provider with a diagnostic code and request for the sleep orthotic/appliance. I screen for SBD in my practice (via questions and limited oral, tongue and throat area evaluation); I even recommend and provide equipment that the patient can take home (for a nominal fee) and SCREEN for a SBD (should they decline the referral to their medical doctor or a sleep physician or don't want to go to a sleep center because of the foreign environment). If that screening evaluation (Home Sleep Study) comes back from the company (that reads and accurately interprets the raw data) with "ALARMING" content, I STRONGLY encourage the patient to seek a Sleep Physician or their primary MD/DO and give the home sleep screening results to them to interpret and diagnose, and/or follow their own protocol. It is here, that the medical care provider may require you to go to a sleep center and a full polysomnogram completed (PSG). Once a diagnosis has been made, they may recommend some type of Positive Air Pressure (PAP) device; should you decline that recommendation, or are unable to tolerate a PAP device, then a referral to a Dentist who has an area of expertise in treating TMJ Disorders and Sleep Apnea is your next step. Should have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask. I hope this answer has been helpful.
A referral from your primary care physician or dentist should be made to a sleep center for definitive diagnosis of sleep apnea. The sleep center physician should then make recommendations for sleep apnea treatment which may include CPAP and/or an oral appliance and/or surgery. Treatment for fabrication of an oral appliance can then proceed from a dentist.
Typically you need a prescription for a physician and a baseline sleep study to document the severity of the sleep apnea. If severe, dental appliances are usually not effective.
Schedule an appointment with a Board Certified Sleep Dentist to see if you qualify for an oral device.
Oral appliances for obstructive sleep apnea are fabricated by a dentist.
Contact us if you live in Atlanta or in the Greater Atlanta area look up; and after appropriate diagnostic evaluation including a discussion of all treatment options, we will be able to fit you with an oral appliance for sleep apnea, assuming that is the best treatment option for you. If you do not live in Atlanta or in the Greater Atlanta area, then I recommend you establish a relationship with a specialist who has expertise in treating sleep apnea patients.
No, unless your insurance requires an MD to see you, a dentist can prescribe and fit you for a dental device to enhance mandibular advancement to treat your sleep apnea.