A potentially serious medical condition, sleep apnea, the temporary absence or cessation of breathing, increases the risk for cardiovascular disease or stroke. “Comprehensive diagnostics are critically important in determining the crux of the problem and the ideal treatment course for each individual patient,” states Neil F. Sachs, DMD, who is the first and only dentist in the Coachella Valley offering the new Tap II® (Thornton Adjustable Positioner). Dr. Sachs, who specializes in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea, TMJ (temporomandibular joint or jaw joint) disorder and orofacial pain, says the Tap II is up to 96 percent effective in the treatment of sleep apnea. The Epworth Sleepiness Scale
Dr. Sachs utilizes the Epworth Sleepiness Scale to assess the severity of the sleep apnea, and a patient’s suitability for a sleep appliance.The Epworth measures degrees of sleepiness by rating the likelihood of dozing off or falling asleep in various situations, using the following scale:
The Tap II The Tap II fits comfortably inside the mouth, and is designed to hold the lower jaw in a more forward, open position and to stop the tongue from blocking the airway. “A customized appliance can effectively treat mild-moderate cases, and has shown great promise in moderate-severe cases,” explains Dr. Sachs. “Oral appliances, which are comfortable and easy to use, generally have high patient compliance rates.” The device is a viable alternative to the CPAP (Continuous Pressurized Air Pack) mask, which works well, but is unsuitable for people suffering from claustrophobia and has a low patient compliance rate.
Like many others, Dr. Donald Givens suffered from very severe obstructive sleep apnea – which remained undiagnosed for many years. As a person who suffers from claustrophobia, Givens could not tolerate the CPAP device. Dr. Sachs fitted Givens with the Tap II, which yielded favorable results within seven to 10 days. After many years of suffering, Givens finally is enjoying a good night’s rest.
“Sleep disorders and snoring require immediate attention, proper diagnostics and treatment tailored to fully address the patient’s underlying condition,” adds Dr. Sachs. The Tap II costs approximately $1,750 and is covered by many insurance policies, although it is not currently covered by Medicare.