From an administrative standpoint, CPAP has one definite advantage over oral appliance therapy: the CPAP machine can record and transmit data so that your insurance company or others can know how much (or, as in all too many cases, how little) you use the device, and, therefore, how effectively your sleep apnea is being treated. Oral appliances can’t do this, but soon they will.
SomnoMed, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of oral appliances for sleep apnea treatment, is introducing a new SomnoDent appliance that can record how long you are using it.
How Compliance Recording Works
SomnoDent is able to offer compliance recording because it includes a DentiTrac chip. The DentiTrac chip monitors numerous properties–including temperature and the position of the chip– to ensure that it is registering actual time worn while sleeping.
The device’s data can then be uploaded using the DentiTrac base station and a PC that is hooked up to the Internet. Data is then sent to a secure server, where it can be accessed by doctors, insurers, and others with permission to monitor the patient’s treatment.
Benefits of Compliance Recording
Compliance recording offers numerous benefits for people wearing oral appliances. With compliance data, a dentist will be able to ensure that the oral appliance is being worn for an adequate amount of time a night. This can then be compared to subjective perception of the success of the treatment so a dentist can decide whether treatment needs to be adjusted.
But perhaps the most important benefit will be when compliance recording changes attitudes toward oral appliance therapy. Although many insurance companies will now pay for oral appliance therapy, they still tend to treat it as though it is a secondary option, not the preferred approach. Part of this comes from the fact that when it comes to oral appliances there is no way to know for sure whether the device is really being used, and the insurance company may worry that they’ve paid for nothing.
This goes beyond just issues of payment. Truck drivers, for example, have to use CPAP rather than oral appliances because untreated sleep apnea increases the risk that drivers will fall asleep behind the wheel, and everyone wants to be sure that sleep apnea treatment is being used to prevent accidents. With compliance recording, oral appliances will become an option for many people who simply didn’t have a choice before.
If you would like to learn whether oral appliance therapy is right for your sleep apnea, please call (402) 493-4175 for an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center today.