Many factors contribute to a case acceptance. A sleep apnea patient will ask about costs and whether medical insurance will pay for sleep apnea testing and treatment. (If you need medical billing codes for dental procedures, ask me for more information.) Commonly, patients inquire about comfort and convenience. Will the oral appliance be easy to wear, care for, and maintain? Preparing positive answers to these questions is important to case acceptance.
However, the most irritating issues for sleep apnea patients threaten their quality of life every day, interfering with their work, relationships, happiness, and health. By focusing on symptom relief during case presentation, you will speak to the patient’s most intimate and challenging concerns.
Daytime fatigue, drowsiness, forgetfulness or brain fog, and the “dropsies” are common for people who suffer from sleep deprivation. Some sleep apnea patients have not slept through the night and enjoyed refreshing rest for decades! Those who struggle with these symptoms may have:
As the dental sleep medicine practitioner, you should give your patients hope by presenting treatment as a path to relief from these oppressive symptoms. Treatment for sleep apnea can revive a person’s cognition and improve concentration, memory, agility, and overall performance of tasks. The vibrancy the patient feels after a few weeks of solid sleep can result in a positive and lasting transformation at work and home.
For patients dealing with relationship issues due to lack of sleep and chronic snoring, you can offer the assurance of relief and renewal. Not only romantic relationships are affected, though marital troubles can create significant weight on a person’s mind and quality of life. Family relationships, friendships, and daily interactions with neighbors and colleagues can become stressed or broken when a sleep apnea patient is subjected to long-term sleep deprivation. Effective treatment offers hope and healing – and this is something you must point out as a priceless, life-changing benefit.
The life-threatening risks of sleep apnea are perhaps the most startling of all its potential side effects. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to the development of a number of serious health conditions that affect not only quality of life, but life itself. For patients with a personal or family history of heart disease, stroke, or diabetes, sleep apnea only increases their risk that much more. This alone should be reason for all sleep apnea patients to seek immediate treatment. While you never want to scare a patient into treatment, one way to hit home is to ask how the patient’s family would feel if they woke to find the patient had passed in his sleep, due to a heart attack. A sobering thought, this idea puts the reality of sleep apnea into perspective quickly and effectively.
Presenting the benefits first is a solid strategy for selling sleep apnea treatment. Plan how you’ll go over these benefits with your patients, and how you can customize case presentation to each patient’s unique medical history and lifestyle. For more ways to improve your dental sleep medicine practice and increase case acceptance, call me, Dr. Marty Lipsey, at 209-527-1995. By offering sleep apnea treatment to patients, you are in the business of improving and saving lives and marriages. That is a noble career, and I’m here to help you succeed!