Simple Tips to Help Your Patients Cope with Their Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

As dentists, hygienists, front office staff, or any other position within the dental office, it is important to be there for our patients. And, after getting diagnosed with sleep apnea, our patients might be confused or concerned, while not quite knowing how to handle that news just yet.

To a patient, suffering from sleep apnea is like someone is robbing them of rest and destroying their health. Everyone needs sleep in order to stay healthy and happy. Luckily, there are effective treatment options for sleep apnea along with helpful tips you can provide your patients to help make their path to recovery an easier one. Let’s take a look:

Proper Position of the Mouth

Once a diagnosis has been made, this is where your office comes in. One option for sleep apnea treatment is oral appliance therapy. By creating a custom oral appliance, you can help keep your patient’s jaw in a proper position. While they might not work for everyone, they do work for many people who find them to be easy to use and successful in treating their sleep apnea—it helps to keep the air passageways wide open and clear by stabilizing the throat and holding it in the proper position.

Remember to Eat Well

Another tip is to eat well. Remind your patients that eating well and maintaining a proper weight can significantly help control their sleep apnea. As you might know, one of the main factors contributing to sleep apnea is being overweight, which is caused by poor eating habits. It has been proven that poor nutrition and diets can contribute to the severity of sleep apnea. So, get your patients to change their eating patterns for improved results!

Sleep on Their Side

Tell your patients to try to sleep on their side. Many people that are afflicted with sleep apnea rest on their backs. By sleeping on their back, it can cause constriction of the throat muscles. Side-sleeping can improve a person’s breathing because it helps to open the airways rather than allowing your tongue to fall to the back of your through like when sleeping on their back. And, if it might be difficult for your patients to sleep on their sides, tell them to try placing a tennis ball in their back pocket or propping pillows around themselves to prevent moving to their back.

It is important to help your patients understand their diagnosis—it may not always be so easy to understand. By giving them some simple tips, you can be helping them receive improved rest relief from their sleep apnea symptoms.

For more information on sleep apnea and tips you can provide your patients, please contact my office or attend one of our lectures. The more you understand sleep apnea, the better you can treat your patients!

Explore Other Writing Avenues

When it comes to writing, there isn’t really a limit to what you can write about or for whom. Write. Write. Write. It is as simple as that. And, if you don’t have the time to write, you can definitely hire a writer to manage your content and social media needs. With my busy schedule and the constant need for content creation, I have been working with a freelance writer for more than two years now—she’s great! Other than blogs, press releases and website content, let’s take a look at two areas you should dive into for writing and expertise:

Guest Blogging

Not only can you blog on your own website, but you can also guest blog for other sites, companies, doctors and organizations. What is the purpose for this? It’s simple; To showcase your expertise and display that you are a thought leader in your field. Talk to other dentists and even dental organizations. Most companies have websites and blogs, so get to talking! The more you interact with your colleagues and other professionals, the more they will know your expertise and the services you offer. Not to mention, you can create a working relationship for referrals.

Articles for Magazines

There are numerous magazines out there, whether they are print or online. In order to get the opportunity to write an article for one of the many magazines, you can both wait around and hope someone sees your blog posts, or you can take charge for yourself and contact the magazine directly. There are many magazines that would be more than happy to have you write an educational article for them or even share your insights through an interview. As a dentist, especially one with experience in craniofacial pain and dental sleep medicine, you hold a unique perspective on many topics. I have written articles about many dental procedures and topics, including craniofacial pain and dental sleep medicine, but I have also shared insight on marketing and increasing engagement with your patients. No matter what, there is something to write about and we want to increase awareness in all areas.

If you have any questions about how you can write and interact further, contact me today. I want to help you get your name out there, too!

Get Your Dental Team Involved

When it comes to marketing and your practice, it doesn’t mean you have to do all the work alone—get your team involved! Having your entire team work together to maintain marketing efforts can bring life to your campaign. It may even bring up ideas that you would never have thought of on your own! After all, your office isn’t just you—it is your team, too. So, take a moment out of your day and discuss different ways your dental team can work together to create marketing ideas to further help out your office and reach patients! Here are some ways you can get everyone involved:

Blogging

Yes, your staff can help with blogging! While they may not feel comfortable writing posts, they can create ideas for your freelance writer to expand upon. However, in addition to having a freelance writer create your blogs each week, your staff can also add in their own words and thoughts. Think about it this way. As a hygienist, you might see or hear different things than the front office staff or even you, the dentist. This makes for a unique viewpoint on blogs and information. Same goes for the front office staff. Share your experiences with patients or give tips on how to make the most of their visit or even ways to expedite the form process. No matter what, any information can be helpful! Put on your thinking caps and start thinking of blogs! Before you know it, your whole team will be experts in blogs—now that’s a good thing!

Social Media

We all can be found on social media. You may even see your staff on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram during their breaks. So, since most people utilize social media on a daily basis, why not include them in on sharing information and photos?

Did you take a group photo in the office today? Take a photo with a patient or even of your workspace? Share it! Instagram is a great channel to share photos and show the personal side of your office. Did you attend a lecture or have a work outing? Share! Share! Share! Show your patients that you are more than just a dental office. You can share photos of your office, your staff or even images you create. The great thing about social media is there is no limit to what you can do so include your staff and see what you can come up with!

Ideation and Brainstorming

This is where more fun can happen. Include your staff on the ideation and brainstorming process of marketing. From blogs to social media and newsletters, ask your team to help out. The more information you can compile the better your marketing efforts can be because you may be missing out on information or experiences they regularly experience. Encourage your staff to share their thoughts and ideas so you can continue to expand your office. If your team doesn’t quite feel comfortable sharing their ideas just yet, you can place a “Suggestions” box in the office for them to share their ideas without judgment from anyone else.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started today! By involving your dental team, you are not only improving your marketing efforts, but you are creating a better work environment, too.

The Anatomy of a Newsletter

Another way you can reach your patients, or even peers in the medical community, is through newsletters. I recently started incorporating newsletters for further reach and to share valuable information. Whether it is information about my office, upcoming lectures, or educational information, I can utilize newsletters to get out the most important information every month through email. To help you incorporate monthly newsletters into your marketing efforts, let’s take a look at what can be included and how to structure it.

Get Organized

As you start to think about creating a newsletter, stop for a moment and get your thoughts in order. Before you begin to create your masterpiece, try to get as many of these thought out as possible:

  • Topic – What topic are you focusing on? The topic should be a core part of your business to establish your authority and credibility.
  • Content types – What types of content will you include in your newsletter? Choose varied types of content to interest and engage subscribers.
  • Newsletter name – What will you call your newsletter? Every book, newspaper, and magazine has a name, so should your newsletter!
  • Goals – what do you hope to achieve by sending an email newsletter to your subscribers?
  • Design – what will it look like?
  • Timing – when will you send your newsletter and how often? Most experts agree that the best time of day is in the morning.

By gathering this information before you sit down and begin, you can make the newsletter a lot quicker than if you think of all of the information you need beforehand—start brainstorming!

Create an Editorial Calendar

Much like an editor for a newspaper, creating an editorial calendar is proven to be extremely helpful. This step is a breeze because you have already determined when and how often to send your business newsletter. Now all you have to do is plan things out a few months in advance. Or, if you want to live on the edge of your seat, you can decide as you go! Either option actually works, but you have to make sure you stay on top of everything. However, by planning things out a few months in advance, you can have time to research, delegate, design and create the content needed for your email newsletter.

To create your editorial calendar, you will need to know what needs to be done when and by whom—this is so you won’t have to worry about keeping up. You will have it all readily available! You should also keep in mind how you will be integrating your newsletter with other areas of your marketing, such as blog posts, social media, articles, etc. Your editorial calendar can help you:

  • See where you can leverage other content
  • Avoid overextending your team
  • Create a more cohesive and consistent customer experience and brand image

After you have everything prepared, you can get started on your newsletter! And, with your editorial calendar, you will be set for months or for even the next year! And, don’t worry, if you go off track and change your editorial calendar as you go, that is ok, too.

Remember, your newsletter is for your practice and your personal marketing needs. Share important information and have fun while doing it!