Testing for sleep apnea disorders has historically only been done at sleep laboratories. It is an overnight test and costs between $1000 and $2500. They usually have long waiting lists and involve overnight testing at their facility. There are now at home sleep tests (HST) that only cost about $200 and can be used in your own bed and according to your own schedule. The apparatus consists of a battery powered recorder (about the size of a cell phone) and some sensors, belts and accessories. You hook up yourself before bedtime then return the apparatus to our office the next day. The Dental Sleep Institute of Carlsbad downloads the information off of the recorder and it is analyzed to determine if a sleep disorder exists.
Although some insurances compel a sleep laboratory test, a HST can be useful in informing your primary care doctor to order the test. Recently, Medicare and Medicaid Services have proposed coverage for HST and recognize them as a diagnostic tool warranting coverage for CPAP or oral device therapy for sleep apnea. Issues of insurance coverage can be more easily negotiated once you know if a sleep breathing disorder exists. Once diagnosed, we believe in a team approach including your primary care doctor, sleep specialist, or ENT if necessary. Orchestrating the best treatment that offers the best chance of patient compliance is our main goal. That is why you should always follow up on therapy after 6 months to be sure there is evidence that your treatment is working and you are getting the optimal benefits from it.