Is there anything more rewarding than restoring a patient who suffers from significant dental problems to optimal oral health?
Helping dental patients who are at risk for serious illness, and even death, from the often-undiagnosed medical condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an enormously satisfying experience.
Sleep apnea not only threatens patients with serious complications, but it also robs them of quality of life: leaving them tired all day, foggy brained, unmotivated, sexually impaired, and quite often unaware of the cause of their problems. Drivers who suffer from OSA are up to seven times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Based on the prevalence of sleep apnea among the population at large, it is probable that 10% of more of the average dental practice’s existing patients are at serious health risk due to sleep apnea and don’t even know it.
Why A Dentist?
Although obstructive sleep apnea is a medical disease, it has an effective dental solution. A safe, widely accepted treatment for patients with OSA is a so-called sleep appliance, which is worn at night like an orthodontic retainer or sports mouth guard, and is generally better tolerated than a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) face mask. It is dentists who pioneered the use of oral appliance therapy and more than 150 oral appliances have been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of OSA.
To properly fit a sleep appliance requires a skilled, specially trained dentist. Dr. Tucker, himself a sleep apnea sufferer who has been educating dentists on the proper and safest dental sleep medicine methods for more than a decade, provides those who take his DOCS Education course exclusive training and treatment protocols available nowhere else.
Why do so few dentists currently treat sleep apnea, when the need and demand are so great and growing rapidly?
The answer, in short, is that dental sleep apnea has gotten a bad — and mostly undeserved — reputation.
Forget all the reasons you may have heard about why dentists shouldn’t provide dental sleep medicine to their patients.
When you know the facts, you’re far more likely to be asking how it is that a dedicated, caring, resourceful dental practice such as yours does not already provide your patients this vital health service.
These are some core facts about dental sleep medicine:
- Dentists who treat patients suffering from OSA save lives.
- Dentists who offer sleep apnea care must do so in conjunction with a sleep physician who is responsible for the OSA diagnosis as well as the care of any of the patient’s other medical problems.
- Patients with sleep apnea are at heightened risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic acid reflux, and erectile dysfunction, among other health problems.
- While older obese men are most commonly afflicted with sleep apnea, it impacts men and women of all ages and sizes, as well as children.
- Treating patients with sleep apnea is one of the safest, if not the safest, procedures that dentists regularly perform. Moreover, most patients with TMJ problems find that when they use their dental sleep appliance, their TMJ symptoms show improvement.
- It is dentists who pioneered the use of oral appliance therapy, which many patients prefer to conventional CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines. Oral appliances are easy to wear, silent, portable, and comfortable.
- While a variety of dental sleep medicine training programs are available, some are of questionable quality and have contributed to skepticism about dental sleep medicine. By contrast, the courses offered by DOCS Education are widely recognized for their exclusive advanced pedagogy and distinguished faculty.
Like all our DOCS Education Master Series courses, Dental Sleep Medicine will prepare dentists and their team members to begin implementing their new training immediately. No additional licensing or certification is required to provide patients dental sleep appliances for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.