Dr. Elliott Featured On SomnoMed’s Blog

Posted on February 5, 2015 by Dr. Erin Elliott

When did you initially hear about SomnoMed?

Well of course, it was with Kent Smith’s course – the attendees got to send in their impressions ahead of time and get a device.  Whenever I go and do talks, I always tell story about changed my patients life.  I was at a convention and when they spoke they didn’t talk about oral appliances, they talked about sleep apnea.  My dad is a dentist, and he took the course with me – getting a SomnoDent really changed his life.  He had severe sleep apnea, and snored, but we didn’t know he had sleep apnea.  When he wears the appliance, he’s within normal limits.  He says he feels much better!  Now, my mom even wears one – she had insomnia issues and acid reflux.

What do tell you tell people who are hesitant to have a sleep test?

Here’s what I usually tell people that say they “just snore” and don’t “need a test”:

  • Sleep apnea is an old fat man’s disease – but we treat young, fit people all the time!
  • They have a fear that they have to wear a mask and don’t fully comprehend that this is an entirely different solution
  • They have a fear about going to do a sleep test, so we do a lot of HST
  • They think it’s going to be expensive – but we tell them that insurance covers it.  They don’t understand that it’s medical insurance, not dental insurance that covers it.  When someone comes in for a consult, we know what their insurance will cover, so before we proceed, we go over that with them.

Where do you see the future of dental sleep going?

I see the older sleep physicians retiring off, and the younger sleep physicians being open to oral appliances.  If 50% are candidates why do we still treat only 5%?  There’s going to be an awakening, and more dentists that stop making snore appliances, and that realize that they are dealing with a disease…not just someone snoring.  So we’ll see more people being trained in it.  We should see more insurance cover it, and more people will have an awareness that insurance covers it.  More patients will also become aware of it.  When I get to treat a Physician for their own sleep apnea, their awareness increases exponentially, which is a cool thing.

What would you tell a dentist who is considering getting started with sleep?

Get trained properly.  There are still too many dentists who think that its just making a piece of plastic.  Keep learning – don’t take one weekend course and think you’re an expert!

Any final thoughts Dr. Elliott?

When it comes to hundreds of appliances out there, be careful to not just consider the bottom line.  Think about what the patients are going through, if the appliance is going to last and if the patient is going to remain compliant.  If you use a device that is below standard, it’s going to create the idea that oral device therapy doesn’t work – and it absolutely does.