Choosing A Treatment Provider
Treatment of sleep disordered breathing conditions is a highly technical field, with life changing outcomes. Special training, procedures, materials, equipment and facilities are needed in order to provide the highest standard of care.
CPAP equipment can be sold by any organisation which satisfies the 'dealer requirements' of the manufacturers. There is no requirement for CPAP dealers to have any healthcare qualifications and so numerous CPAP dealerships are operated by unqualified personnel whose motivation is primarily financial.
Oral appliance therapy can only be provided by a qualified dentist. A dental prosthetist or dental technician is legally prohibited from providing this form of treatment. Practicising dentists must complete special training in the field before providing treatment. Be aware that very few dentists have undergone this form of training, as it is such a specialised field. If in doubt, ask your dentist for proof of qualification.
Also be aware that there are some unprofessional organisations using unqualified or under-qualified personnel to deliver treatment and / or to construct the device/s which they offer.
Before you choose your treatment provider, you should make sure that they are fully qualified and abiding by all of the relevant medical, dental, health and legal regulations.
Some simple things to check for:
- When oral examinations are performed, Is the person taking the impressions and measurements a qualified dentist ... or just someone dressed to look like a dentist?
- Has the dentist undergone special training in 'sleep dentistry' and oral appliance therapy?
- Do they conduct a preliminary assessment of your suitability for treatment and record the details on proper and detailed multi-page medical/dental charts and forms?
- Do the clinic staff measure your Body Mass Index and assess you against the Epworth Sleepiness Scale before commencing treatment? (Do they even know what the BMI and ESS are?)
- For oral appliance therapy patients, do they determine the optimum position of your mandible (lower jaw) by taking measurements with technical dental gauges and acoustic pharyngometers (which use sonar like technology to map the patients' airways) or do they simply guess?
- For CPAP patients, are experienced and specially trained staff available to arrange fitting of your equipment and accessories? Do these staff follow up regularly to ensure your comfort.
- Do the routinely arrange an overnight sleep study to monitor your brain activity, cardiac activity, blood oxygen levels, breathing levels and number of times you stop breathing, both before and after treatment?
- Are the treatment room and all contact surfaces disinfected prior to your treatment, to prevent any cross-contamination?
- Is the construction of oral appliances made in a proper dental laboratory, or is it done on-site in just ‘a room out the back’?
- Is the construction of oral appliances done by a qualified dental technician / prosthetist … or someone without any formal qualifications?
If these questions make you feel uncomfortable about the organisation you’re dealing with, consider refusing treatment and reporting it to the health authorities. Incorrectly fitted devices can cause very serious, painful and long term problems.
If you have any questions or require any further information, please feel free to call 1300 246 637 to speak with a friendly treatment coordinator. There is no cost of obligation for this initial discussion. Alternatively, you can complete the following form and we'll call you back: