We all live a hectic lifestyle these days, in spite of technological advances which allow us to be more productive. Our patients, and many of us dentists, struggle to get through the day. Tiredness, fatigue, sleepiness. Fatigue is the number one complaint heard by health professionals across the globe. Seventy million people suffer from some type of sleep related problem. Sleep related breathing disorders, such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, are at the top of this list. Yet less than 10% of these patients have been diagnosed. These are the same patients who are walking through your doors every day.
As dentists, we are in a prime position to be the first to recognize this disorder and to help steer patients in the right direction to get diagnosed. We also have the ability to treat many of these patients ourselves, thus improving their quality of life as well as possibly saving their life!
- Learn the basics of sleep and what can go wrong
- Learn the health risks associated with sleep disordered breathing
- Understand the co-morbidities of sleep apnea
- Review of airway anatomy and what contributes to sleep disordered breathing
Signs and Symptoms:
- Learn to recognize fatigue and sleepiness (easy when they’re asleep in your chair!)
- Learn what questions to ask and what a red flag answer is
- Receive screening forms that you can begin using when you return to your office
- What co morbidities increase the likelihood of your patient having apnea?
- Understand the current and proposed diagnostic methods and the role of dentists in the team healthcare approach
- Review of PSG (Polysomnogram) and HST (Home Sleep Test): which is best?
- Can you, as a dentist, order a sleep study?
- Can you, as a dentist, diagnose sleep apnea?
- Review of the current treatment modalities for snoring and apnea
- Review of current literature regarding treatment recommendations
- Explore the role that dentists play in the management of this disease
- Review of the current FDA approved Mandibular Advancement Devices
- Learn to evaluate which dental device would work best on which patient
- Learn how to manage side effects, including jaw problems and bite changes
- Proper protocols for working through titration of dental devices
- When and how to test for efficacy
- Learn what constitutes successful treatment
- Understand the hurdles dentists encounter with trying to implement this into their practice
- Review medical insurance and billing procedures
- Practice protocols, including informed consent and proper documentation