Studies by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) estimate that 26 percent of adults 30 to 70 globally suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The condition is characterized by a weakened upper airway, along with nasal resistance, snoring, gasping, and more, and is caused by an underdeveloped upper airway and jaw. While some may think this is merely a cosmetic inconvenience, underdevelopment can lead to many downstream comorbidities, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s.
So, why are over one in four adult airways underdeveloped? The answer is Western culture: Western culture has normalized the soft food diet, limited breastfeeding, and the use of a pacifier. These factors result in little positive stimulation of the jaw bone, unnatural tongue positioning, an increase in mouth breathing, and an increased risk of developing OSA over time.
The good news is that we’ve come a long way in science and technology and our understanding of the upper airway. With the help of revolutionary oral appliance technology, companies such as Vivos Therapeutics, Inc. can successfully screen for and treat OSA using a noninvasive, nonsurgical, easy-to-implement method.
However, none of this can be accomplished without a proper sleep test and diagnosis. Let’s discuss transforming your dental practice with holistic, at-home sleep apnea screening.
Historically, sleep tests were done overnight in a lab with several wires and diagnostic tools hooked up to the patient to monitor their various sleep levels; periods of light, deep, and REM sleep; wakefulness; and more.
This is known as in-lab polysomnography and monitors the following:
- Cardiac activity
- Brain activity
- Snore volume
- Leg movements
- Eye movements
- Blood oxygen concentration
- Body position
- Respiratory effort
While effective, this atypical sleep environment can cause participants high levels of stress, anxiety, and even worsened sleep. While the in-lab test does boast some differentiators—such as enhanced monitoring of brainwave activity and more detailed data—doctors and scientists agree that there must be a better way for most patients to gain simple data on their sleep health at home.
Enter VivoScore, powered by SleepImage. VivoScore is an at-home sleep test in the form of a ring. The device boasts advanced biometrics and sleep diagnostics packed within its tiny frame. In addition, its nonintrusive, simple, and intuitive setup and design make it an excellent choice for all patients. There’s even a child-specific version to ensure our little ones are sleeping and breathing correctly, too.
Here’s how it works: You simply connect your ring to your smartphone app via Bluetooth when you’re ready for sleep. This app will remotely monitor the data obtained while you sleep. This includes measurements of sleep quality, pulse oximetry, heart rate, and apneic events. It then stores the biomimetic information in its intelligent cloud-based software and produces a comprehensive sleep assessment upon waking. That’s it!
This sleep assessment is shared with your Vivos-trained healthcare provider, who can then evaluate your sleep quality and diagnose OSA. For best results, providers often encourage participants to wear the device for a couple of nights to obtain a baseline and the most accurate reading. Also, be sure to charge your device using the included cable each day so it’s ready to go! Once you finish your at-home sleep test, we know you’ll want to test all of your friends and family.
The VivoScore device is an FDA-cleared class II software for the analysis of sleep quality in children, adolescents, and adults. On average, it is 90 percent cheaper than an in-lab polysomnography, has a 98.9 percent accuracy rate, and is a comfortable alternative. So, what’s the best way to incorporate holistic at-home sleep apnea screening into your dental practice?
Transforming Your Practice
Incorporating sleep and airway into your dental practice involves a learning curve. It’s a new science, new technology, and new territory for many traditionally-trained practitioners. We understand, which is why we’ve come up with a solution that makes sense. Education is the foundation for change and development. This is where you should start. There are many dental, sleep, and airway-related conferences, seminars, and tradeshows available in 2022, such as the following:
- Discover the Sleep Medicine Revolution
- The 2022 North American Dental Sleep Medicine Symposium
- 2022 SEC Conference
As many of these events offer advanced breakout sessions, individualized training, and more, these are excellent resources to gain foundational knowledge as well as intermediate and expert-level skills and tools. To take it a step further, consider partnering with a company or organization that understands sleep and airway medicine and can provide you with the connections and confidence necessary to succeed with patients.
Vivos is one such company that offers providers access to leading clinical advisors, dental and healthcare professionals, software, medical billing, oral appliance technology, and more. With Vivos, you have support every step of the way, and you can feel confident in your growing abilities. Not to mention, we also offer training for your staff, as they are critical to the overall success of your practice.
As for VivoScore, powered by Sleep Image, this is an excellent tool to incorporate into your practice when you begin screening for OSA. Before the rollout, you’ll receive expert training on not only how to navigate the technology yourself but how to teach your patients to use it at home. In collaboration with expert-level medical providers, your patients will receive a proper diagnosis and take the next step towards breathing and sleeping well.
For more information on VivoScore, please visit us at vivoslife.com.