The Inspire Sleep Apnea Innovation

January 6, 2023 Lee Ann Brady DMD

I heard about the new Inspire sleep apnea device over a year ago. If you have not heard of “Inspire” yet, be on the lookout. TV commercials are everywhere.

What is Inspire? It’s an implantable device that helps treat sleep apnea. Much like a pacemaker, a surgeon implants a little control device with some electronic leads to manage neural inputs to the muscles around the airway in order to help hold the airway open.

After the device is implanted, the patient presses a button on a smart device app to turn it on and off. It’s as simple as pressing the button when they are ready to go to sleep and pressing it again when they wake up. There is no need to wear a CPAP or oral appliance.

Over a year ago, when I first learned about Inspire, I mentioned it to a patient who had already had orthognathic surgery, had tried CPAP, and was still struggling with his quality of life while dealing with OSA. He was tired of having a dry mouth and increased risk of caries. We had already had several conversations.

At a subsequent appointment, he shared with me that he was extremely grateful we had had that conversation about Inspire. It motivated him to talk to his primary care physician and look at having the device.

He also shared with me that this treatment was covered by Medicare and then his gap insurance. Why did they cover it? Interestingly, it was not because he was CPAP intolerant or he had failed—because he was regularly wearing his CPAP. They covered it because he was suffering dental decay, dry mouth, and other secondary issues due to the CPAP.

I think we’re going to hear about this device more from our patients, and there will be times when we think it is in our patient’s best interest to start a conversation about it. If you are not familiar with Inspire, I recommend that you hop on the Internet and learn more about it.


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Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded leeannbrady.com and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

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Using Mallampati Scores

September 11, 2020 Kelley Brummett DMD

Screening our patients for airway and breathing issues is becoming a standard in dentistry. One of the things we have started to do every day in our Hygiene rooms, with our patients from three years old to very elderly, is visually looking at the back of their mouth and assign a Mallampati score.

The Mallampati score was developed by anaesthesiologist Seshagiri Mallampati, in 1985, as a non-invasive way to assess the ease of endotracheal intubation. The test is simply a visual assessment of the distance between the base of the tongue and the roof of the mouth.

In our practice, we begin a conversation about airway with patients. The Mallampati diagram (see below) allows both us and our patient to visualize, on a score of 1 to 4, the patient’s anatomical airway. We laminated the Mallampati diagram off of Google Images, and we can give it to the patient to hold while we screen them, or we share it with them after screening to let them see why they received the score they did. We then continue the conversation with them about their airway and why it might be a good idea for them to observe sleep patterns or be referred to a sleep physician for further diagnosis.

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Dr. Kelley D. Brummett was born and raised in Missouri. She attended the University of Kansas on a full-ride scholarship in springboard diving and received honors for being the Big Eight Diving Champion on the 1 meter springboard in 1988 and in 1992. Dr. Kelley received her BA in communication at the University of Kansas and went on to receive her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. After practicing nursing, Dr Kelley Brummett went on to earn a degree in Dentistry at the Medical College of Georgia. She has continued her education at the Pankey Institute to further her love of learning and her pursuit to provide quality individual care. Dr. Brummett is a Clinical Instructor at Georgia Regents University and is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Brummett and her husband Darin have two children, Sarah and Sam. They have made Newnan their home for the past 9 years. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading and playing with her dogs. Dr. Brummett is an active member of the ADA, GDA, AGDA, and an alumni of the Pankey Institute.

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