A Comparison of Dental and Medical Insurance

When comparing dental insurance to medical insurance, both are useful in helping to reduce your out-of-pocket costs when it comes to managing your health. But they each cover very different treatments and procedures. In the past, dental coverage was rarely considered when purchasing individual healthcare plans. But today, many dental policies are now designed to mirror major medical plans to provide policyholders with more comprehensive coverage. Keep reading to learn the difference between medical and dental insurance and why you should have both.

Dental Coverage

Many think that dental insurance is a form of medical coverage, but this is not true. Oral diseases are very different from diseases that affect other areas of the body and can be an indication of more serious conditions. The primary focus of a dental plan is preventive care, meaning it is geared toward preventing problems before they start. This is why biannual visits to the dentist for regular cleanings and exams are often fully covered under dental insurance rather than medical.

Medical Coverage

Medical insurance focuses more on unexpected healthcare, cushioning the blow to your wallet when illnesses or injuries occur. For example, it covers all or at least part of the cost of treatment for health conditions like sleep apnea. This disorder occurs when your tongue or the soft tissues in your throat block your airway and interrupt your breathing pattern while you sleep. When this happens, you remain asleep, but your body wakes up long enough to breathe normally and restore the oxygen levels in your blood. It can occur up to 100 times every hour without you even noticing! If you snore loudly and wake up feeling extremely tired, even after a full night of rest, you may have sleep apnea.

One treatment is an appliance called a CPAP machine, which increases air pressure in your throat to keep it from collapsing while you sleep. Another treatment option is oral appliance therapy, which involves placing a custom-fit oral sleep device that fits like an orthodontic retainer in the mouth at bedtime. This appliance holds the jaw in a forward position to help keep the upper airway open, minimizing or stopping snoring and OSA. Both of these treatments are typically covered under medical insurance.

The Overlap

Generally, dentists and doctors carry different responsibilities, but both fields have quite a bit of overlap. Certified sleep physicians and specially-trained sleep dentists often work together to determine symptoms, diagnose and decide the best treatment for patients suffering from sleep apnea. For example, a sleep physician will prescribe an oral appliance for a patient and a sleep dentist will design the appliance for the patient.

Though these two fields have quite a bit of overlap when it comes to overall health, insurance companies view them very differently. Having dental and medical insurance is a good idea, but it’s also important to know when to visit which doctor. Any issue that arises with your teeth, gums or oral health, in general, should be handled by a dentist.

About the Author

Dr. Paul Jones is a sleep dentist who received his doctorate from the University of Iowa. He received state-of-the-art training in dental sleep medicine and has achieved diplomate from the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. Today, Dr. Jones is a Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry. If you believe you may be suffering from sleep apnea, contact Dr. Jones at (480) 256-1489, or visit the website to schedule an appointment.

Anxiety & Sleep Apnea: Are They Connected?

Anxiety and sleep apnea are like peanut butter and jelly—it’s hard to have one without the other! Over time, studies continue to show evidence of a link between the two problems. What’s more alarming is that cases of sleep apnea AND anxiety are on the rise, and you don’t need research to understand why. The coronavirus and its effects on the population have only caused anxiety and depression to increase. Plus, working from home has caused Americans to exercise less, leading to higher risks of sleep apnea. Read on to learn more about the connection between these two problems and how treating one can help the other!

But First, What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of Americans. It occurs when the throat and/or tongue muscles relax to the point that your airway becomes fully or partially blocked, making it difficult to breathe. This interrupted breathing leads to difficulty sleeping, and it can happen sometimes hundreds of times in one night. You may be affected by sleep apnea if you notice symptoms like loud snoring, waking up gasping for breath, morning headaches, and daytime drowsiness.

Additionally, you may have a higher risk of sleep apnea if you:

  • Have family history
  • Are obese
  • Have a smaller neck circumference
  • Are male
  • Are older
  • Drink alcohol excessively
  • Smoke

How Does Sleep Apnea Cause Anxiety?

When sleep apnea occurs, the brain sends a panic signal that alerts the body to resume breathing, which prevents a full night’s rest. This causes what’s known as ‘sleep debt,’ which is an issue that makes it more difficult for the brain to handle stress. Additionally, when sleep is constantly interrupted, brain activity and the neurochemicals that affect your mood can be altered, which is why irritability and depression are common symptoms of sleep apnea.

Can Anxiety Lead to Sleep Apnea?

While it’s tough to know with certainty whether anxiety can cause sleep apnea, it’s safe to say that this condition does make it more difficult to fall asleep. Thankfully, there are options like therapy and medication to help you manage your anxiety and set yourself up for better sleep.

Effective Sleep Apnea Treatment

In many cases, treating sleep apnea can help you rest and achieve peace of mind. Your dentist uses a custom-made oral appliance that positions the jaw and/or tongue in a way that opens the airway for unblocked breathing. The best part is that it’s easy to use, comfortable to wear, and it can fit in your pocket.

Are you ready to kill two birds with one stone? Contact your dentist to treat your sleep apnea and anxiety for better nights AND days.

Meet the Dentist

Dr. Paul Jones is an experienced sleep apnea dentist in Mesa who is passionate about helping his patients because he himself is affected by this common condition. He has undergone state-of-the-art training in dental sleep medicine and has achieved Diplomate status from the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine (ABDSM), which allows him to provide effective sleep apnea therapy. If you have any questions, he can be reached through his website or by phone at (480) 256-1489.

Welcome to Our Mesa Practice!

Hello! Welcome to our blog. This is the best place for families in Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, and Tempe to get the latest information on sleep apnea directly from a sleep dentist who serves their community. Dr. Paul Jones and his team can’t wait to help you rest easy and comfortably. If you’d like to learn more about what they do, how they can improve your life, and what sets them apart from other practices, they encourage you to keep reading!

Your Sleep Dentist Dr. Paul Jones

Dr. Paul Jones comes from a very dental-oriented family. His father, brother, and brother-in-law are orthodontists, while his father-in-law and two more brothers-in-law are general dentists, and he has yet another brother-in-law who is a periodontist. He’s learned a lot about many facets of dentistry thanks to his family, as well as just how rewarding the field could be.

Dr. Jones loved his career as a dentist, but he found that dental sleep medicine held a special place in his heart and interests. This is partially due to his own struggles with Obstructive Sleep Apnea and the CPAP machines that are traditionally used to treat it. Alongside earning his dental doctorate from the University of Iowa, he has completed state-of-the-art training in dental sleep medicine. He is proud to be a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine (ABDSM), a Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry, and a diplomate of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.

A Variety of Services to Help You Regain Restful Sleep

Sleep apnea affects more than 25 million Americans, many of whom don’t even know they have it. However, it’s difficult not to notice the inescapable symptoms of this harmful sleeping condition. Oftentimes, you’ll feel extremely fatigued during the day, wake up with headaches or a dry mouth, have difficulty concentrating, or feel irritable. Your sleeping partner may be bothered by your loud snoring or notice that you stop breathing for a few moments throughout the night and sometimes wake up choking or gasping for air. If this sounds familiar, Dr. Paul Jones and his team can help. They offer:

  • At-home sleep testing: To diagnose sleep apnea, you need to take a sleep test. In the past, this required sleeping in a special lab overnight while hooked up to various machinery. Thankfully, Dr. Jones can provide a much more comfortable and convenient way to measure your sleeping patterns with an at-home sleep test. He has relationships and works regularly with multiple sleep testing providers, both local and online, and can help accommodate you in getting testing arranged with the provider best suited for your situation.
  • A variety of personalized oral appliance therapies:  While CPAP machines are typically used to treat sleep apnea, most patients find them uncomfortable and difficult to sleep with. Instead, Dr. Jones can remedy mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea with a custom-made oral appliance. To achieve the most personalized treatments, he offers several different types of appliances.
  • Combined therapy: For cases that cannot be solved with an oral appliance alone, there’s combined therapy. This treatment utilizes both an oral appliance and a CPAP machine to allow the patient to get the support they need while staying as comfortable as possible.

We Would Love to Meet You!

Dr. Jones and his talented team would be honored to help you achieve the healthy sleep you deserve. If you’d like to meet them, or if you have more questions about their services, they encourage you to reach out to them via their website or at (480) 256-1489.