It is estimated that more than 18 million Americans currently suffer from sleep apnea–a sleep breathing disorder in which a person’s airway gets blocked while they are sleeping. Knowing this, as a dentist, have you thought about treating obstructive sleep apnea in your office? If you haven’t already, then you should begin contemplating it now, because if you add dental sleep medicine to your practice, you’ll experience many benefits.
When we think of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common treatment option we think of is through the use of a CPAP machine. However, many patients are non-compliant to this form of treatment. In this case, the best option may be oral appliance therapy, which is provided by a dentist. Wearing an oral appliance opens the airway by pushing the lower jaw forward and can be more comfortable than a CPAP machine. Studies have shown that oral appliance therapy can be just as effective as CPAP for mild to moderate OSA sufferers.
Why Add Dental Sleep Medicine?
If you are asking yourself, “should I add dental sleep medicine into my practice?” then let’s break it down.
1. Dentists see their patients twice a year and are given the unique opportunity to properly screen patients and recommend treatment long before they may ever visit their regular physician.
2. Dental practices can differentiate their practice. In an increasingly competitive market, standing out amongst other dentists is a must, and offering dental sleep medicine services in your practice is a great way to do that. You are opening yourself up to an entirely new market of potential patients, who need help!
3. Oral appliance therapy for obstructive sleep apnea is covered under medical insurance. This means your patients have easier access to treatment than other services that they would have to cover completely out-of-pocket.
Dental Sleep Medicine Education
As a dentist it is vital that you understand how to properly treat and manage your sleep apnea patients. It is just as important that your team is trained in their roles as well. Dental Sleep Medicine is one of the most rewarding fields in dentistry. Especially, when you see the huge difference you are making in your patients lives.
The patients that are treated feel refreshed, rejuvinated, and renewed. It is as though you have given them their life back. I highly encourage you to help these sleep apnea patients to make a big difference in their lives.
At Nierman Practice Management, we are available to help the transition into DSM be a smooth and seamless operation. Contact us today or call 1-800-879-6468 to learn more about Dental Sleep Medicine and your options for completing continuing education.
Remember, dental sleep medicine services not only allow you to stand out from other dental offices in your community, but also to further help your patients in areas they might be struggling to find help in.