Sleep Therapy Answers with Pasadena Orthodontist Vickie Greenberg DDS, MSD
Q&A with Dr. Vickie Greenberg
Q: You are a Board-certified orthodontist with over twenty-five years’ experience. How did you get into Sleep Therapy and Airway Orthodontics?
Dr. Vickie Greenberg: I started years ago, more by accident than anything. It started by listening to my patients needs as my patients are my teachers. They lead the way. Years ago, many parents of my teen patients came up to me and said, “You have helped my kid breathe and sleep better. Keep doing what you are doing!” The parents and patients wanted holistic, or physical body health. I chose to focus on both general health and airway orthodontics over just dental health. The most important need from my patients was airway orthodontics, making sure my patients can breathe & sleep. If they can sleep better, they are more rested, feel better & even get better test scores!
Q: What type of technology & treatment techniques do you use to help your patients breathe better & sleep better?
Dr. Vickie Greenberg: We do comprehensive and limited treatments depending on needs and use a wide variety of technology & treatments depending on the patients needs. We can open the airway by moving the teeth, moving the tissue and moving the bone. One of our tools is Fotona’s NightLase® therapy as a non-invasive, patient-friendly laser treatment for increasing the quality of a patient’s sleep. NightLase reduces the effects of sleep apnea and decreases the amplitude of snoring by means of a gentle, laser-induced tightening effect caused by the contraction of collagen in the oral mucosa tissue.
When opening the tissue, we use this type of laser treatment, which uses light energy. There is no surgery & nothing invasive. The light energy helps with the flabby tissue that results in snoring by opening up in the back of the throat as well as the palate itself. We use trays, or orthodontic devices, to move the teeth to open up the airway by that means too. Sometimes we need to move the teeth to make room for the tongue, which also opens the airway. We also re-shape the palate which makes more room for the nasal area, as well as the tongue area below. It brings the upper jaw out a bit too.
We have tools such as a mandibular advancement device that advances the lower jaw but still use other means to bring the upper jaw forward. Some patients don’t need CPAP and don’t want appliances in their mouth, so they can use just laser treatment.
Over the past 300 or so years our jaws have been shrinking from the refined & processed foods we now eat. Peoples jaws are shrinking, and every generation is getting worse. I am trying to get us back to where we were 300 years ago. Bringing the jaw out further, reversing the course of the past 300 years.
Q: Why would a person with sleep trouble see you over another sleep therapy clinic?
Dr. Vickie Greenberg: One reason is that we have the many tools in our tool chest able to open the entire airway for better breathing and better sleeping. A lot of the airway has to do with the mouth, the throat, the nose, the lower jaw, the chin point, the tongue. It is all related. We don’t provide CPAP, but we do have a lot of patients who have CPAP already. Or, they don’t have CPAP and we can refer them out for that as well.
Q: How would I know if I should see you?
Dr. Vickie Greenberg: Your spouse, or partner, can help you determine if you should see me. If they say you are snoring or difficulty breathing at night, then you may be a great candidate. If you are having trouble sleeping, or drowsy during the day, falling asleep all the time. You know you have some sort of airway obstruction. It’s not necessarily Sleep Apnea, but it means they need to call and make an appointment to see us and we can help them with their airway.
Q: Do patients take a Sleep Study Test before treatment?
Dr. Vickie Greenberg: Yes, we have a sleep study test that we have the patients take home. It also depends on the circumstance. Usually when the patients come in and they want to know if they have sleep apnea or snoring. We can have them take our test and can refer them to their physician or a sleep doctor. Our sleep test can be analyzed by a sleep doctor. The sleep doctor can let us know if the patient has sleep apnea, the severity, and if the need CPAP.
Q: Does insurance cover any of these sleep therapy treatments?
Dr. Vickie Greenberg: Yes, now NightLase is getting covered through some medical insurance. Because I’m an orthodontist we do a lot of comprehensive treatments moving teeth and bone. Comprehensive treatment can be covered through dental insurance. We don’t need a prescription, it’s not through medical insurance, it is just orthodontic movement for better airway or jaw alignment. Mandibular appliances written by a prescription from a physician can be covered by medical insurance.
Q: Do you offer free consultations?
Dr. Vickie Greenberg: Yes, we want to you breathe better & sleep better and make sure we’re a good fit for your needs. The first step is to schedule a complimentary consultation with me. We can then determine the cause & severity of your sleep problems by analyzing your mouth, throat and airway passage. We then begin a treatment plan based specifically on your unique treatment needs. I stay with you every step of the way during & after treatment. I want you to breathe better, sleep better and live a long healthy life!