Dr. Drake was recently a guest on Kens 5 morning show, “Great Day SA” with Cristina Blackwell.
Cristina Blackwell: Did you know snoring could be early symptoms of some serious health problems? Neither did I. But thankfully, Dr. Richard Drake, owner of Dr. Drake’s Sleep Solutions is here with us and he’s here to make sure you don’t hit the snooze button on your sleeping problems.
Good morning, Dr. Drake. It’s wonderful to have you here.
Dr. Drake: Good morning. Thank you for having me.
Now this is a genuine concern, because I had no idea snoring was a bad thing. Is it really?
Dr. Drake: It sure can be. You know for years and years, people say, “Oh my husband snores. I, you know, give them the elbow.” We hear stories about, “I wake up in the morning and my leg hurts from my wife kicking me all night. You know, “hey, you’re snoring.”
Cristina Blackwell: Yes, it’s a serious problem for the wives, too, yes.
Dr. Drake: And you know, sometimes we don’t know we have a problem. Not everybody sleeps with a bed partner. But, snoring we’re starting see changes in the cells that line the heart. And we’re starting to see some serious things. And snoring is just part of a spectrum. And on that spectrum, you snore and then you get into what’s called upper airwave resistance and then you get into sleep apnea, where we actually don’t breathe at all.
Cristina Blackwell: This is very scary, doctor. Because I didn’t even know this is something that happens. So this means that as you’re sleeping, your body just stops taking in oxygen. You stop breathing.
Dr. Drake: Yeah, last time I checked, we need oxygen, to live.
Cristina Blackwell: Right, that’s what I would think too. So to know that you’re going to sleep and there’s a chance that you may not be breathing at some point. That’s scary.
Dr. Drake: Yeah, and you know, again, it runs the spectrum. So if people snore does that mean they have sleep apnea? Well it might. But there are people who have sleep apnea and they don’t snore much because they’re not breathing. I mean we’re trying to get air into our lungs. Our diaphragm moves, we create this negative pressure. I have to get air down my throat. But when my jaw [snoring sound] is down and back and my tongue falls against the back of my throat, now you can’t breathe. So that’s what we do. You see these pictures of these?
Cristina Blackwell: Yeah, what is this?
Dr. Drake: They’re called mandibular repositioning devices. That’s a fancy term for a dental device. And all we’re doing, really, is we’re grabbing a hold of your jaws. It’s kind of like a glorified football mouth guard in a way. I mean think about back to high school football. And you grab hold of your jaw and you think about your bite being like this and your jaw is falling back and it’s closing your airwave down.
Cristina Blackwell: Keeping you from keeping your mouth open?
Dr. Drake: I’m trying to get air into my lungs and I can’t.
Cristina Blackwell: Yeah.
Dr. Drake: Because of [chocking sound]. You know, your tongue.
Cristina Blackwell: So this is molded to your mouth? You make these each individualized for each person?
Dr. Drake: Yeah, they’re custom fitted. So we’re kind of high tech at my office. We take scans instead of the old guey impressions. We actually take pictures. We have a camera that takes pictures.
Cristina Blackwell: And let’s brag a little doctor. You are the only board-certified doctor, correct? In this field?
Dr. Drake: Yeah it’s hard to believe. A city of over 2 million people and I’m the only dentist who’s board-certified in this? And this is all I’ve done for 17 years now. So I did general dentistry for 13 years and then I took a course on sleep apnea and I was like the typical dentist.
Cristina Blackwell: Yeah.
Dr. Drake: I didn’t know what sleep apnea was.
Cristina Blackwell: I don’t think a lot of people do.
Dr. Drake: You know, a patient came in and they said…Yeah. And I literally, I came home and told my wife “I’m selling my dental practice and this is what I’m going to do.” And of course, she looked at me like, “you’re going to do what?”
Cristina Blackwell: What? Now, I’m fascinated with these dental devices. Can you tell us the cost of that, roughly?
Dr. Drake: So the cost, you know, it depends on your insurance company. So as a dentist, I am in network with most major medical insurers, on the medical side. So medical insurance covers this. Dental insurance doesn’t.
Cristina Blackwell: Ok, medical does and dental doesn’t. Ok.
Dr. Drake: Yes, so this is not a dental insurance thing. This is a medical problem. And even though I am a dentist, I’m kind of at that weird guy in the sense that we really do treat a medical disorder with a dental device.
Cristina Blackwell: Wonderful.
Dr. Drake: So you know, does your insurance cover it? Yes, your insurance covers it if you’ve had a sleep study. So if you’ve not had a sleep study, that’s the only way that we know that your airwave is closing down.