I went on a feverish research marathon on the internet night before last, and printed out a bunch of pages of different dental appliances for sleep apnea. I also found several pages explaining exactly how to talk to my Blue Cross insurance people in order to have a fighting chance of getting this thing covered by my medical insurance. This sort of appliance does not fall under dental, as it really has nothing at all to do with the teeth. I printed a list of possible side effects, too, just in case I had any problems. Troubles are always easier to cope with for me, if I know I’m not the only one having them.
So, armed with all my paperwork, I went to my own dentist yesterday and had a long talk with him. I really like him, and have been going to him for many years. In fact, he has crowned almost every tooth in my head! LOL That’s just as well, too, as this appliance would not work if my teeth were not strong and in good condition. But, I digress. I was pleased with what he told me about how he did this process, but even more pleased when he brought my very own hygienist in to talk to me. It seems that she uses the very appliance that he was recommending! She explained that she could move her mouth around with it on, and that was something I was particularly concerned about.
She also told me about the exercises you have to do each morning when you take it out. If you don’t do that, you will pull your bite all out of alignment, not to mention have a lot of jaw pain. That’s not a problem, as I have to “exercise” my face muscles every day anyway, as part of my Parkinson’s exercises. These are designed to forestall the mask look of PWP. We lose the ability to use the fine muscles that control facial expression, and these exercises are supposed to prevent that. I don’t know if they will, but I intend to try, anyway. So, adding in some jaw and mouth exercises will be easy enough.
So, I did it. I had the impressions made and paid out 1,000 big bucks right there on the spot. That’s not cheap, by any means, and it certainly means I’d better be right about this one!! If you thought I was stubborn about trying to get used to the CPAP, just wait and see how stubborn I can be with that much of my own money invested in it! LOL I really feel like this is something I need to solve the insomnia and resultant brain fog I deal with every day now.
Of course, I will do everything I can to get reimbursed by my insurance company, but I had already decided I would do it, covered or not. I did call the insurance company yesterday to find out what forms I needed to get this approved, and then my Sleep Disorder doctor’s office to ask them to get Dr. A to fill them out. So I’ve started the ball rolling, anyway. I made sure I got the medical code for this appliance from the dentist’s office, too, so I could use that in my argument for coverage, if needed. I would not have known to do any of this if it hadn’t been for a dentist somewhere in California, of all places, who had a whole page explaining exactly what to do to get this appliance covered. Ain’t the internet great?
While I’m waiting the three weeks it will take to get this in, I’ll work to get the skin around my mouth back in good shape. Those masks have really done a number on my Acne Rosacea, with dry irritated patches all along my mouth on both sides down to my chin and across. My skin usually takes awhile to heal, once I get this irritated. I quit wearing makeup years ago, because everything broke me out, and I have to be very careful about any soaps or medicines I use on my face. That alone made me a poor candidate for cpap. Adding in the degenerated disks, which required that I be able to move around in my sleep, and I hope I can make a good case that using this “custom fabricated device” is a “medical necessity,” as the insurance company requires. Both of those conditions are documented in my medical records, so I think they have a fight on their hands if they try to deny this claim. I’m loaded for bear, and ready to take them on, but, hopefully, they will agree and I won’t need to fight them. I really don’t need that extra stress. But, what will be, will be.
Getting rid of the cpap frustration and looking forward to getting the dental appliance has improved my mood considerably, so I remain positive that everything will work out for the best. I do covet your prayers and good thoughts that I will find adjusting to the mouth piece to be an easy transition.
The device I’m getting is called a TAP, which stands for Thornton Adjustable Positioner, and you can read all about it here and here, if you’re interested.