When it comes to treating patients with obstructive sleep apnea, you want to provide the highest level of care possible, right? But what if the individual doesn’t realize they have it? Whether you are already aware or not, as a sleep apnea dentist, you are uniquely qualified to screen your patients for signs and symptoms closely associated with this common disorder. Unsure how this is possible? Let an expert more clearly explain how dentists like yourself can make the discovery process easier for prospective sleep apnea patients.
Can a Dentist Screen for Sleep Apnea?
As a dentist, you know how much time you spend with your patients. You’re not the type to quickly sit down, scan their teeth and gums, make a recommendation, then leave. Instead, you believe in building quality relationships with those who entrust you and your team with their smile. This can be beneficial when attempting to incorporate sleep apnea therapy into your practice. How so? Not only are you already devoting ample time to each individual who sees you, but you can use your knowledge and training to check for signs and symptoms occurring in the mouth that may point to sleep apnea as well as ask questions about a patient’s current health and history.
Dentists and Sleep Apnea: How the Two Combine
When a patient arrives for a regular checkup or cleaning, you can use this time to not only check for tooth decay, gum disease, and other common dental problems, but you can also look for signs that will lead to discussions as to whether the individual is experiencing sleep or breathing issues. If so, you have the ability to refer them to a sleep physician for an official diagnosis.
In your role, you can be the catalyst for an individual to seek professional help. In working alongside the patient’s physician, you can provide various methods of treatment that will prove beneficial in helping them breathe better and achieve adequate rest. The types of sleep apnea therapy you choose to use is up to you, but as a dental professional, you can offer patients a multitude of options (i.e. oral appliance therapy, orthodontics, oral surgery), each designed to achieve long-lasting and life-changing results.
Ways to Start the Screening Process in Your Practice
To start implementing the screening process in your dental practice, make sure you establish a standard protocol for your dental team. This will ensure everyone is on the same page when determining whether an individual has sleep apnea or not. It is also helpful to connect and network with local physicians who can diagnose the problem. This will allow you to readily refer an individual when you begin to notice red flags that may be contributors to sleep apnea.
Don’t underestimate your ability as a dentist to help patients suffering from sleep-breathing disorders. You can do far more than simply treat the problem. You can also be the reason someone seeks additional help.
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.