May 5, 2019
When treating obstructive sleep apnea in children, time is of the essence. Not only is this condition harmful to grown adults, but for children, it’s equally as dangerous and can pose a significant risk for developing high blood pressure, heart problems, and poor growth. As more and more children become overweight in the United States, the need for pediatric dental practices to offer sleep apnea therapy increases. Find out why this form of treatment can be beneficial to your practice and how Brady Billing can help when it comes to filing claims.
How Does Untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea Affect Children?
Just like adults, children with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) experience ceased breathing for 10 seconds or more. This occurs because there is a blockage in the airway. While OSA can occur at any age, it appears, in children, most commonly between the ages of 2 and 6. Why? The answer can be linked back to enlarged tonsils and adenoids, which can decrease muscle tone and block the airway. Some of the risk factors associated with sleep apnea in children include:
- Enlarged adenoids or tonsils
- Small jaw
- Muscle weakness
- Down Syndrome
- Craniofacial syndromes
If OSA is left untreated, a child can go on to experience severe medical and mental problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and even behavioral and cognitive problems. A child who is evaluated early on has a better chance of successful treatment.
How Can Sleep Apnea Treatment be Incorporated into a Pediatric Dental Practice?
By incorporating sleep apnea treatment into your pediatric practice, you are not only expanding the services you offer your clients, but you are helping to treat a growing need among society’s youngest members.
Dentists who are trained in sleep medicine have an opportunity to collaborate with local physicians by helping to identify at-risk patients. By encouraging your patients to come in every six months for regular checkups and cleanings, you are able to spot any problem or cause for concern much earlier. Oftentimes, symptoms associated with sleep apnea are misdiagnosed as being connected to other, less dangerous conditions. Detecting early signs of sleep apnea will enable the youngest patients to seek treatment more efficiently and effectively.
In addition, as a pediatric dentist who is trained in sleep medicine, you can treat your patients with oral appliance therapy. Because this device is worn in the mouth, it is like a mouthguard. It just takes coordinating with a sleep physician to determine if the treatment is effective after each follow-up visit.
A few things you can do to get started include:
- Thoroughly evaluating your practice – Do you have patients that fit the “ideal” characteristics for possible treatment?
- Receiving the necessary training – If you are not already trained in sleep medicine, take the necessary courses and instructions to legally practice and perform this method of dentistry.
- Getting to know other physicians – It’s important to network with local and nationwide physicians who are knowledgeable and can help when collaborating on sleep apnea diagnoses.
- Using marketing to your advantage – Find ways to work with a marketing partner who can provide results in incorporating the sleep apnea treatment portion of your business into the overall practice.
How Can Brady Billing Help with Filing Insurance Claims?
As a third-party billing provider, Brady Billing can not only eliminate the frustration experienced by many patients, but we can also ensure you, as the dentist, receive prompt payment for provided services.
Sleep apnea treatment is not typically covered by dental insurance, which is why our team of experts can work with medical insurance companies to help your patients understand their benefits and maximize their coverage.
When it comes to filing insurance claims, we can take the additional stress your dental team may experience by handling everything from verification to predetermination to negotiations and appeals. While we take care of all the fine details, it is important that your dental team members understand how the process works. Why? Because they’ll need to be able to explain it to patients who might not understand why a third-party billing service is necessary. There are extra fees included, which is important that your team explain to the patient, so there are no surprises.
About Brady Billing
We specialize in dental offices that provide sleep medicine services and offer billing services for dentist offices throughout the country. By offering a range of billing services, we can assist in answering your questions and providing a complimentary consultation to discuss available services. To find out how we can help you, visit our website or call (844) 424-5548.
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