I have had a sleep test to confirm my oral apnea device is working. How often should I come back to see my apnea dentist?
You took the large step in finding a dentist that treats snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. You made it through the steps of getting an oral device prescribed and made. You have worn it at home and finally had a confirmation that the oral appliance is indeed working to control not only snoring but apnea events. Now what?
First of all, don’t assume that your sleep apnea dentist has automatically received the results of your test confirming that your oral appliance is working. Often sleep testing facilities may have an oversight in sending results to your dental providers. It’s a good idea to follow up that your sleep apnea trained dentist received the tests.
Here are a few circumstances that may dictate it’s time to set up an appointment with the dentist that fabricated the device for you:
- It is ideal to be seen for a visit within 6 months after the receiving the device or after a final ‘check’ before you were referred back for a confirmation test. Usually, unless you are high risk for side effects or low compliance, once per year is recommended after that.
- If you had a confirmation study that involved a significant number of adjustments, (advancements), it is often a good idea to set up an appointment to confirm that the device ’s advancement matches the study’s recommendation. Also, you may need guidance on getting your device to the ‘ideal’ position in a way that may help prevent jaw pain.
- If you are not able to tolerate the most therapeutic advancement level that was recommended after the sleep test, the dentist can reassess the sleep test results together with patient complaints that may need to be resolved to increase long-term compliance. Adding a positional device or alternating with CPAP therapy may be discussed. Or in some circumstances the oral device is worn together with the a CPAP at a lower and better tolerated pressure to maximize apnea events’ reduction or elimination.
- If at any time you start feeling the device is no longer working and symptoms resume.
- If you see a crack starting or a problem with your device, it is time to see your qualified sleep apnea dentist… Small issues can easily be resolved, and often your oral device may be under warranty. These warranties vary from device to device brand.
Seeking a well trained and qualified oral appliance dental provider is the 1st step to having an oral sleep device made. He or she is trained to help guide you through the process above for best apnea treatment with oral appliance therapy.