The Treatment of Sleep Apnea

By: Bruce B. Baird, DDS

As I have lectured on productivity across the country for the last 15 years people often ask me what is the secret to productivity? Is it working faster? Is it seeing massive numbers of patients every day? My answer is none of the above. Productivity is about leverage and getting people to say yes to treatment. Let’s look at these two keys to productivity.

Leverage in real estate is the concept of using very little of your own money to control a property that has a much greater value. The concept of leverage in the stock market may be described by owning options at a fraction of the cost of buying that stock, yet having control over that stock. That’s great but what does leverage in dentistry mean? You only have a certain amount of time in any given day. Let’s say you work 8 hours. We know that the average dentist in the country produces slightly less than $400 per hour. That means that they average around $3,200 per day. That day is spent doing fillings, exams, hygiene exams, emergencies and an occasional crown. The average dentists feel like they are working very hard every day and I certainly don’t dispute that. The secret to productivity is learning to do procedures that are highly leveraged. An example may be, for instance, a crown. Your fee is $1000 and it takes you a combined hour to do it. That’s a $1000 per hour procedure which is 2.5 times the leverage of anything else you are doing that day. A dental implant is another very leveraged procedure. Say you charge $1,600 for an implant and it takes you 1 hour.

That is leveraged at 4 times your usual productivity per hour. Follow me?

Let’s now look at the treatment of sleep apnea. I have one team member who sees the apnea patient first and does a cursory evaluation. She uses the Pharyngometer and Rhinometer and takes a Cone Beam CT. She reviews patients’ insurance and Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Then I come in for 20 minutes to review the findings and discuss the dangers of apnea. I then recommend a home sleep study to screen the patient for the severity of their apnea and snoring relevance. For 10 minutes I review the findings and recommend appropriate treatment. For the severe patient I recommend an appointment with one of our sleep physicians. For all other patients I recommend oral appliance therapy. Impressions are taken and we move forward. My sleep technician does all the follow-up visits. I come in only when there are questions and this may take an additional 10 minutes through the course of treatment.

The leverage here is incredible. Our fee is $3,600 for an appliance and I have spent around 40 minutes on that case. The leverage in this procedure is 13.5 times higher than the average dentist’s daily production. WOW!! Plus you may very well have saved a life!!

High return on investment, a real opportunity to improve patients’ quality of life and practicing stress-free dentistry. How much better can it get? So how does a dentist get into this leveraged dental “niche”? It begins with a Sleep Group Solutions training seminar. These 2-day weekend courses prepare the dentists and their teams to begin screening their existing patients, and create a stream of new patients, for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Now let’s look at the number one reason people deny treatment. You know the answer- it’s money. Some patients are approved for 3rd party financing, but what about all the other patients? It is highly leveraged!! I started a company, called Comprehensive Finance, to change the way we think about financing. We have been told not to do our own financing. By who? By the people who make all the money—banks. That is simply not the way to do things. If a procedure can be done mostly by your auxiliaries and the down payment covers your cost, then why wouldn’t you offer financing? By knowing the regulations in all 50 states and having clients in all 50 states we do all the work. You enter the patient’s information into our software and you get an answer in less than 2 seconds. We look into their banking history as well as their credit rating. There are many people who are payment worthy but not perhaps credit worthy.

We charge $3,600 for our appliances, get $600-$800 down and we finance the rest. Depending on risk, the patient is charged between 9.9 and 17.9% interest. Payments are around $140 per month for 2 years or $100 per month for three. Almost all patients can afford this treatment and we do all the collection work. Defaults are surprisingly low and we do not have a single patient paying less than full fee. If you would like more information call Charles at 866-964-4727 for special pricing for SGS doctors.

READ IN FULL in The Sleep Magazine