Dentists typically struggle to implement sleep apnea in their office. Statistics show that a staggering 99% of all dentists who take a continuing education course on Obstructive Sleep Apnea(OSA), treat at most 3 sleep patients, total. On top of that 80% those same dentists do not get reimbursed (due to lack of knowledge of what’s needed for documentation and general lack of knowledge on OSA process) for any of the 3 appliances they did. The most likely result from there -THE DENTIST THROWS UP THE WHITE FLAG AND GIVES UP on the idea of treating OSA patients.
There are THREE LARGE obstacles to treating sleep apnea as a dentist.
Obstacle#1– Dentists cannot diagnose sleep apnea and cannot prescribe oral appliances. Only a board certified sleep physician is able to diagnose OSA and prescribe Oral Appliances. This forces the typical dentist to rely on referrals from sleep physicians.
Obstacle#2- There is little to no reason for a sleep physician to refer their patients to a dentist. Sleep physicians are biased towards CPAP. Due to the low number of referrals that they actually get, sleep physicians tend to put every patient they diagnose with OSA ,on a CPAP machine, regardless of OSA severity. A patient that uses CPAP, is a patient that they need to manage and requires frequent visits. Once sleep physicians refer a patient to a dentist, that dentist becomes the care giver of that patient, rather than the sleep doctor. When sleep physicians’ were asked, why they don’t refer more patients to a dentist they answered with the following. “You are asking me to refer my easy cases to a dentist. Me referring a patient to a general dentist is akin to asking a general dentist to refer all of their hygiene patients to a Periodontist!”
Obstacle#3– It is very difficult to get insurance companies to pay for oral appliances. Most courses make it seem so simple. They tell you there are forty million patients out there with undiagnosed sleep apnea. They tell you to simply screen your patients and then tell you that you will be able to treat patients with oral appliances. The truth of the matter is a lot of the people teaching courses, have never had any financial success treating sleep patients. More than 90% of all insurance claims are rejected by the insurance companies
All of these obstacles make it extremely difficult for the average dentist to 1)Work on a equal footing with a Sleep Physician 2) Get Referrals and 3) Get Paid
Introducing the answer to the problems above, The Tsunami Health and Wellness Dentist to Dentist model. The Tsunami Health and Wellness (THW) model, allows every dentist to participate in a legally vetted, joint venture, with other dentists that will allow each of them to profit off of oral appliances in an extremely easy fashion