As a dentist who offers sleep apnea therapy, you are committed to helping individuals who experience difficulty breathing and sleeping at night. Whether these patients have tried other forms of treatment in past with no success or believe their condition to be “no big deal,” this is your opportunity to use your dental sleep medicine training to provide patient-focused treatment that educates them on the risks of forgoing proper care as well as the life-changing results that can be achieved with the right form of therapy. Read on to learn what you can do as a sleep dentist to improve the lives of your patients.
The Risks of Untreated Sleep Apnea
When an individual is unable to get a restful night’s sleep because of continued interruptions caused by ceased breathing and/or airway blockage, the negative impact it can take on their health and wellbeing will begin to escalate over time.
Some of the most common risks associated with individuals who have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Brain damage
According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, a 2013 study concluded that people with OSA have a higher risk of sudden cardiac death. When the body is continuing to signal the brain to breathe, a person’s heart rate increases, as does their blood pressure. This up and down rollercoaster can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or even death.
The Importance of Effective Treatment
In your unique position as a sleep dentist, you can treat patients who are coming to you for help. Many already understand the risks associated with OSA and are looking to you for your expert help. Relying on the multitude of sleep medicine courses and training you completed, you can combine your knowledge with the needs of your patient.
By establishing a patient-focused approach to treating OSA, you can better align the style of care with your patient’s preferences. Maybe they were unsuccessful with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine in the past. You must listen and be mindful of their past experiences and concerns as well as the goals they hope to achieve.
When discussing the methods of effective treatment, make sure you are:
- Considering their current risk factors
- Offering a combination of treatments that offer long-term results (i.e. oral appliance therapy and a weight loss program for patients suffering from obesity)
- Taking their financial budget into consideration and offering various payment options
By keeping these specific items in mind during your consultations, you can help your patients better understand why they chose you for therapy and which option is right for them (i.e. oral appliance therapy, CPAP, surgery, lifestyle changes). Not only are you considering their needs when formulating a treatment plan, but you are helping them to achieve long-lasting results that will offer them a better quality of life.
About 21st Century Sleep Seminars
Dr. Kent Smith is a top professional in sleep medicine who has experience in treating, writing, and speaking about sleep disorders. His wealth of knowledge has helped other dentists integrate sleep apnea treatment into their own practices. At 21st Century Sleep Seminars, we can provide you with the information, tips, advice, and network of professionals you need to effectively treat these sleep disorders your patients are facing. To learn more, visit our website or call (972) 255-3712.