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. 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.
General negative effects
- Daytime fatigue
- Brain fog
- The “dropsies”
These symptoms are common for people who suffer from sleep deprivation. Some sleep apnea patients have not slept through the night or enjoyed refreshing rest for decades! Those who struggle with these symptoms may also have poor performance at work.
Poor work performance
- Difficulty completing tasks fully and to a high standard
- Poor performance reviews
- Inability to progress in a career
- Lack of concentration that inhibits ability to learn new tasks
- Stagnant salary
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.
Difficulty in relationships
- Depression and anxiety, affecting mood
- Obesity, negatively impacting self-image
- Tiredness, causing lack of energy for outings and hobbies
- Loud snoring; keeping spouse/partner awake at night can lead to the partner’s sleep deprivation, exacerbating the relational problems
- Sexual dysfunction
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, 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.
Serious health troubles
- Low blood oxygen levels
- High blood pressure
- Cognitive heart failure
- Type II diabetes
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.
More ways to improve your sleep practice
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. 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!
About the author
Marty R. Lipsey received his DDS degree from UCLA and a Master of Science from Northwestern University Dental School. Dr. Lipsey is the founder of Dental Sleep Med Systems and Medical Billing For Dentists, offering dental teams assistance in implementing and improving their dental sleep medicine practices, including outsourced medical billing and successful insurance coding and processing. Dr. Lipsey lectures nationally on dental sleep medicine and medical billing and is a full time advocate for sleep health and effective medical billing systems.