Q:  Is oral appliance therapy effective?

A:  Yes, for most patients.


Q:  How does oral appliance therapy work?

A:  The appliance works like a nighguard on the top and on the bottom.  It pulls your lower jaw forward, opening your airway.


Q:  Do you offer a money-back guarantee?

A:  Absolutely.  At Stebbins Dental Studio, we stand behind what we do 100%.


Q:  How long does the process take?

A:  For most patients, making, delivering, fitting, and titrating your appliance takes 2-3 months from your first appointment.  We want to make sure that it fits precisely, you are comfortable, and it is at the best setting for you.


Q:  Does my insurance cover the appliance?

A:  Most medical insurance plans have some coverage for oral appliance therapy, usually around 1/3 of the cost.  Every insurance plan is different, and we do our best to maximize your coverage.  Dental offices are usually out of network with medical insurance, and we require payment in full at time of service.  We will then file your claim for you and your insurance will reimburse you directly.  We will do a benefits check first if you need one.


Q:  How much does this cost?

A:  It depends on the type of appliance you choose.  There are many options available, and prices vary from $1500-3200.  Your adjustment visits are included in this price up to one year from delivery.


Q:  How do you know the appliance is working? 

A:  We adjust the appliance according to your subjective symptoms, and then use a home sleep test to measure the effectiveness.  Your sleep physician may also prescribe a test in the sleep lab if they would like more information.


Q:  Is a sleep appliance comfortable?

A:  A sleep appliance is similar to wearing a nightguard.  There is a period of adjustment, but most patients do find them comfortable to wear.


Q:  Is the oral appliance custom made for me?

A:  Yes.  Your oral appliance will not only be chosen with you by Dr. Stebbins, who is one of four board certified sleep dentists in Montana, but will be made specifically for your mouth using the latest technology.


Q: Will an oral appliance make my TMD worse?

A: Probably not, although if you do have TMD, we will need to proceed with treatment carefully. Most patients have a slight inflammatory response to the temporomandibular joint initally (usually 3 weeks or less), and then their overall TMD symptoms usually improve substantially with the appliance.


Q: I am currently doing braces or invisalign treatment. Can I wear an oral appliance?

A: Nope, sorry, you have to wait until you are done with orthodontic treatment, although there are some temporary appliances that will work short term.


Q:  Can I still have a sleep appliance if I don't have teeth?

A:  If you have some missing teeth, this should not be a problem, but if you are missing all your teeth (and have no dental implants) oral appliance therapy will not work for you.  Your teeth will need to be evaluated by Dr. Stebbins to ensure that they are strong enough for treatment.


Q:  What other options are available to treat my sleep apnea?

A:  The CPAP machine is the gold standard of care for sleep apnea.  However, for most patients, weight loss is actually the most effective way to reduce sleep apnea because we have large fat pads in our tongue and neck that obstruct our airway.  For some patients, positional therapy is effective, which means sleeping in an elevated position or not on the back.  In more extreme cases, surgery may be indicated.  A new, exciting therapy is the Inspire device, which is kind of like a pacemaker that helps the tongue protrude during sleep, and is now offered at Kalispell Regional Medical Center:  https://www.inspiresleep.com/  Dr. Stebbins is well versed in all these options and can discuss them with you. 

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