Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a problem that affects approximately 30 million people in the United States, yet only a small percentage are receiving proper care for their condition.
Dentists are a valuable resource for patients who seek treatment alternatives.
Adding Dental Sleep Medicine to your practice is crucial in three ways. First, you have the opportunity to help fill a “treatment gap” for Obstructive Sleep Apnea therapy. Second, you and your team can deliver to your patients a higher standard of comprehensive care. Third, you can offer a service that is not only fiscally, but also morally rewarding. The benefits will resonate through every facet of your office.
The “gold standard” of care is the CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machine. By increasing the pressure inside the airway, CPAP serves to prevent airway collapse from the tongue, soft palate and excess weight around the neck. While there are no therapy options more effective than CPAP, because close to 50% of patients so prescribed are non compliant, the need for an alternative is acute.
Where does this leave patients who are seeking better sleep and better health, but cannot tolerate the treatment they have been prescribed?
Oral Appliances are a highly effective, non-invasive treatment modality for those patients who have failed to benefit from CPAP use, or who have been tested at levels too low to require this more aggressive therapy. When diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, many physicians only give the patient one option for care, independent of the severity of the condition. Choosing to incorporate Dental Sleep Medicine into your practice permits you to assess each case on its own merit, and provide the care, which suits that patient’s individual needs.
All skills required to fabricate such an appliance are already in your and your team’s wheelhouse as dental providers. The best news? Only dentists are allowed to fabricate Oral Appliances, allowing you to step in and help bridge the gap between proper diagnosis and proper can while growing your health care professional referral network.
Adding new options to your “menu” of services is a valuable way to grow your practice. Enhancing your Offering with new, innovative, and valuable ways to care for your patients’ overall health cannot help but add to production, and does not require ‘swimming upstream.’ Dental Sleep Medicine is an increasingly relevant subject being discussed by patient, dentist and, of course, sleep physician alike because the signs and symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea are everywhere.
As a dental health provider, you have an incredibly unique view into this condition, directly at the site of the obstruction, the throat! So many indications are right in the mouth, a place that no other health provider diagnosing this condition looks at with any knowledge. You and your team look there repeatedly daily: the opportunity to recognize OSA in your patients is ever present.
The dental issues you address the most, bruxism, porcelain failure, acid erosion, may all be signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Consistent screening of your patients for the condition will likely reveal as much as 25% of your existing patient base has Obstructive Sleep Apnea. That does not even include the percent who have been diagnosed and prescribed a CPAP, but are non compliant.
Sleep plays an enormous role in maintaining our bodies. We rely on it to restore our muscles, vital organs, brain, and emotional health. The risks and costs associated with inadequate, and improper, sleep are high. In addition to physical breakdown, heart attack, stroke and hypertension, the emotional costs, depression and anxiety disorders, are also high.
By identifying and treating sleep apnea early, patients can prevent not only health-related, but social issues as well. An estimated 25% of people sleep in separate bedrooms because of snoring, which is a sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, placing a considerable, and needless, strain on relationships. Caring for patients with the appropriate treatment modality will help them achieve not only improved overall health, it may well mend emotional issues. Providing patients with an effective clinical therapy that also permits them to be closer to loved ones is a rewarding mission indeed. As dental professionals, we are accustomed to addressing patients’ fear, anxiety, and discomfort. Dental sleep medicine is an indispensable tool for your complete health dentistry toolbox.
When providing patients with high quality Dental Sleep Medicine, you are treating patients who want to be there and are grateful for the care you have delivered, and the many positive outcomes that ensue. Few feelings can compare with the satisfaction in knowing you have saved a patient’s marriage, that they have grown closer to their family because they can finally stay awake, or that they are getting a promotion at work because of increased productivity.
All trends suggest that sleep apnea will only become more prevalent. Because many patients are searching for alternative therapies to their CPAP, becoming a qualified provider of sleep apnea therapy will not only benefit your current patients, it will create opportunities to connect with new ones.
All types of practices will benefit from adding Dental Sleep Medicine. It fits comfortably into the schedule, can be spearheaded by a team member, keeping the doctor’s burr turning, and reaping generous rewards. Implementation is simply a matter of clear systems and communications protocols.
To learn more, contact DSM Solutions at (818) 940-0794 or fill out the contact form at https://dentalsleepapneatraining.com/contact-us