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Bright Tomorrow: Sleep Medicine and Dentistry

June 8th, 2010 · 2 Comments

Today we got a three-fer at Three articles on sleep disorders and how treatment relates to the dental field. Topics covered included dental students ill prepared to treat sleep apnea, sleep disorders hard to diagnose in kids, and nasendoscopy in predicting treatment results. More and more, we’re hearing about sleep disorder treatment by dentists – probably because an estimated 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder and about 20 million have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Many of these folks hate the CPAP. Today, dentists can offer a simple, non-invasive, comfortable alternative with OAT (oral appliance therapy).

Just checkout this post excerpt from the message board:

I have just been diagnosed with mild sleep apnea within the last month. I had two sleep studies done. One with and one without the CPAP machine. Since my diagnosis I have been given the CPAP for a one month trial. I am depressed, angry and frustrated. Everyone keeps telling me to just use the CPAP machine. I am using it for the one month trial because my insurance company requires it. I have already had trouble with the machine.

Why bring sleep apnea treatment into your dental practice?

  • There’s a good market for obstructive sleep apnea & snoring treatment
  • Many people are CPAP intolerant and want an alternative
  • OAT is non-invasive and easy to use
  • You can improve lives with oral appliance therapy for obstructive sleep apnea

Information about Dental Treatment for Sleep Disorders

If you’ve not yet studied sleep medicine outside of the 2.5 hours you received in your four years of dental school, start with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine…they’re “Expanding the Science of Dentistry” ;-). At this organization’s website, you can find information about courses, the annual meeting, certifications, and other resources to fuel your quest for knowledge. The AADSM also offers a number of benefits with membership.

You might also check out the SomnoMed website. While biased from a manufacturer’s standpoint, the site actually has some great content for patients, medical doctors, and dentists. SomnoMed is a leader in OAT.

To diagnose sleep apnea, patients no longer have to undergo an onsite sleep study in a lab. Instead, products like Ares by Watermark provide a more comfortable alternative. Learn more about home sleep diagnosis equipment at the Watermark website.

How to Market Sleep Apnea & Snoring Treatment

Awareness is the main hurdle. People simply don’t consider the dentist when looking for a solution to a sleep problem – and that’s IF they know that their headaches, fatigue, and depression stem from a sleep disorder.

Education for Existing Patients

Marketing to your current patients will be best achieved if you train your staff to present OSA and OAT information during educational opportunities with patients. The AADSM offers four patient brochures in pdf format (or you can order them) that explain snoring, sleep apnea, and OAT. Watermark’s website also has a good patient section with information about sleep apnea, an online quiz, and information about their product. Respironics and ResMed put up an informative site, as well. It’s worth a look if you want some good fodder for in-office patient education about OSA…

Finding Potential Patients

To market OAT as a way to attract new patients, start with your current advertising. If you have ads coming out, add a blurb about sleep apnea treatment. If you have a Facebook or Twitter account, start spreading the word. Be sure to blog about the condition and treatment, as well.

Online marketing is great, as well. Get a search engine optimized page up on your website now – it can take search engines up to 90 days to index the page. Dentists who want a more aggressive strategy can opt for a small website dedicated solely to sleep apnea and snoring: education, resources, and treatment. Be sure to update your bio if you’ve taken courses in sleep apnea treatment.

If you don’t offer home sleep diagnosis with Ares or a similar product, you might contact local sleep labs and sleep specialists for networking.

Share Your Thoughts on Sleep Apnea & Snoring Treatment

DentalBlogs readers would love to know about sleep apnea treatment in your practice. Post your comments today!

Tags: Clinical

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dental Website Marketing UK // Jun 9, 2010 at 2:48 am

    Existing information not covering side effect of Surgery for Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

    Persistent side-effects occurred after uvulopalatopharyngoplasty and uvulopalatoplasty in about half the patients and difficulty in swallowing, globus sensation and voice changes were especially common.

    Read more from –

  • 2 Rochelle Riley // Jun 9, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Sleep Apnea can Kill. It’s as simple as that! Why oral appliance therapy? An oral appliance can reposition the jaw and tongue during sleep and create more room for air flow. Dentist specially trained in the field of dental sleep medicine are qualified to fabricate these devices and provide those who suffer from snoring or mild to moderate sleep apnea with a quiet and restful night’s sleep without a bulky C-PAP! Got C-PAP? Get Oral Appliance!

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