We are Failing our Sleep Apnea Patients!
CPAP is referred to as Gold Standard Therapy for Sleep Apnea. However, the facts simply don’t support this statement. Over 30% of patients referred for a Sleep Study don’t get tested; 50% of these patients citing the reason, “I don’t want to use CPAP!”. For those that do attend, most patients requiring therapy are prescribed CPAP; approximately 50% don’t comply and remain unmanaged. If you do the math, one can only conclude that we are failing our Sleep Apnea patients!
The prevalence of Sleep Apnea is twice that of asthma and diabetes, yet it remains grossly under-diagnosed and under-managed. Dentists are ideally positioned to screen and participate in both the management and follow-up of these patients. However, Dentists electing to participate in the care of Sleep Apnea patients must first learn the “Rules of the Trade”, including how to confidently communicate with patients and physicians about oral appliance therapy. They must also acquire a comprehensive knowledge base regarding the “Tools of the Trade” necessary to facilitate patient management; various custom oral appliances, theragnostic modalities that provide proof of effectiveness, temporary or trial appliances, home sleep testing equipment used to best calibrate the appliance, an understanding of integrated and combo therapy that utilizes a combination of CPAP and oral appliance therapy, etc.
With a patient centric approach, dentists, family physicians, sleep specialists ear nose and throat specialists and other clinicians can work harmoniously to best help these patients. Through collaboration, these clinicians can provide the best screening and diagnostic efforts, and treatment alternatives that are best suited to the specific patient, optimizing adherence and ultimately, outcomes.
Sleep Disorders Dentistry Continuing Education programs are dedicated to creating Sleep Disorders Dentists, that can help turn the current failing system, into a “Patient Centric” successful system. Learn to practice as per current medical guidelines and develop the knowledge, skills and confidence required to work collaboratively with physicians to best help Snoring and Sleep Apnea patients. Make this the year you add this valuable service to your dental practice and participate in turning the current failing system into a successful system!
Check out our 2017-2018 Sleep Disorders Dentistry CE Season by clicking HERE!
John Viviano DDS D ABDSM