The Importance of Titration & Retesting Visits in Sleep Apnea Treatment
There are many excellent CE and sleep management education courses available to dentists these days. One overwhelming trend, however, that seems to be occurring in these sessions is a lack of emphasis on titration of the sleep apnea device and the importance of retesting the patient’s sleep apnea.
After you initially fit your patient with their sleep appliance it is normal to give it a few days to break in. Allow the patient to wear the appliance and identify any sore spots or high spots that may ultimately aggravate their bite and their soft tissue. But how many of you are bringing your patient back and retesting how effective the device you provided is in treating their sleep apnea?
Home sleep tests and pulse oximetry tests can be especially helpful at this phase. The patient can take one of these home and sleep with it for a night or two with their new appliance and then return the test to the office. Comparing the data from the patient’s current test to their original pretreatment test will give the provider an idea of whether the appliance needs to be advance or retracted. It can also be an indicator if the patient needs tongue restraint during sleep or if some of their apnea is positional and they would benefit from other methods in addition to the appliance to relieve their positional apnea.
Home sleep tests and pulse oximetry tests can be easily rented from your local medical equipment company or, if you don’t have a local medical equipment company, you can often contact a mail order company that will provide them for you for a monthly fee. They are a great way to know whether the appliance you painstakingly fabricated ultimately is treating the patient’s medical condition.