4 Day Sleep Course with AACP in San Diego

Hurry! Hurry! Are you ready for a 4-day sleep course with the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain (AACP) in San Diego? I know I am! What better way to learn about dental sleep medicine than on a trip to sunny California! While it won’t be all fun in the sun (we need to learn a lot in these short 4-days, too) I can ensure you that you will leave this mini-residency with more pep in your step because you will be ready to keep pushing through dental sleep medicine and the services available for your patients. Let’s take a look at what to expect in this 4-day sleep course with the AACP in San Diego September 28 – October 1, 2016.

Come Ready to Learn

Yes, this is a 4-day weekend course in sunny San Diego! In this sleep course with the AACP there will be lectures, hands-on workshops and case studies. By completing this mini-seminar you will receive approximately 38 CE credits, but hurry because enrollment is strictly limited to only 25 students!

In this mini-seminar you will pick up the knowledge and clinical skills required to assess and differentially diagnose commonly encountered temporomandibular disorders seen in a dental practice that might impact the success of treatment for a patient with a sleep breathing disorder, such as sleep apnea. You will also gain advanced medical and dental training to successfully treat patients. While learning these specific areas, you will also make progress toward fulfilling AACP fellowship and AGD Mastership requirements. Now that sounds like a win-win to me, doesn’t it?!

Training is provided by both dentists and physicians to increase the scope of understanding, as well as fostering the importance of a team approach to ensure the highest level of patient care possible. Remember, space is limited to only 25 students, so sign up now before it is too late! I hope to see many of you there! If not, please visit my lectures page for more continuing education opportunities. 

Dentists Remain in a Unique Position to Screen for Sleep Breathing Disorders

When it comes to dentistry, dentists and hygienists are trained to evaluate the entire patient–not just the oral cavity. Because of this those in the dental field become increasingly important in the diagnosis of sleep breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea. Even with dentists seeing their patients at least twice a year, they can recognize traits, characteristics and behaviors that predispose patients to a variety of systemic conditions, including sleep disorders.

A dental appointment allows dentists to properly screen for various signs that might signal a sleep breathing disorder. Various tools used regularly by dentists can significantly improve the diagnosis of sleep breathing disorders because they are able to screen and refer suspect patients to their physician for further diagnosis and treatment. Screening tools can be utilized during the dental hygiene appointment to properly identify patients that are at risk of sleep breathing disorders, such as:

  • Completing a simple questionnaire
  • Visual intraoral assessment

These two screening options help dentists to successfully identify patients who are at risk for sleep breathing disorders, or those who may already suffer from them.

The biggest role dentists have in this area is the opportunity to co-treat the condition with the patient’s physician using oral appliance therapy, oral surgical procedures, or even orthodontic approaches. Through these dental approaches, you can address increasing the volume of the upper airway primarily by bringing the tongue forward away from the throat.

Necessity of Continuing Education

With advanced research, there has been mounting evidence that with both the oral appliance therapy and surgical, hard tissue approaches, dentists can successfully treat patients suffering from sleep breathing disorders. For this reason, it is more important than ever for dentists to complete continuing education courses to better understand diagnosis and treatment options for this unique field.

As Dental Sleep Medicine continues to gain popularity in the dental field, dentists are in a unique advantage because of the current availability of these ongoing continuing educational opportunities. Dentists can easily find credited classes to help them advance their knowledge of Dental Sleep Medicine from various accredited programs providing seminars and lectures.

As an expert in Dental Sleep Medicine I currently offer consulting services, and I also lead lectures to further improve the knowledge of dentists and their dental teams. I will work with you and your team to help everyone better understand sleep breathing disorders and how to prepare your office for these patients. With the ever-growing availability of continuing education courses, dentists are at a unique advantage to constantly improve their knowledge while further expanding your dental practice with advanced services, including Dental Sleep Medicine.

Most patients show signs & symptoms of sleep breathing disorders before they are formally diagnosed. As a dentist you hold a unique advantage by being able to identify symptoms early on. From proper screening tools to co-treatments and continuing education, dentists can improve patients’ oral and overall health through dental visits and better understanding sleep breathing disorders.

Get Your Blog On! The Important Role Blogging Plays for Your Practice

Social media is great (well, most of the time). It is almost like a giant party or a never-ending conference in which we get to meet countless awesome people in specific areas of interest. Through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites you can meet new patients and even referring doctors. However, what adds to that social media management is blogging. Here is why blogging can be beneficial to your practice:

The Importance of Blogging

By sharing helpful advice through blog posts, you will position yourself and your office as experts in your industry as well as a trustworthy source for someone in your field. Blogging also helps to market your dental practice because blog posts can be shared across multiple social networks, as well as through emails. If others find your blog post to be helpful, it might get a lot more attention than you had initially imagined it would bring.

The use of blogging also helps to boost search engine optimization (SEO) for your website. I’m sure you’ve heard those three letters before and often wonder what you can do to help improve your ranking: Blog! Blog! Blog! The more blog posts you have out there, the more traffic is going to be generated and the more leads for new patients you will receive. A blog is an extension of your website, which means regularly posting once a week or more will help to keep your website up-to-date.

Blogging and SEO Tips

We all visit Google on a regular basis to search for a certain topic. If you are blogging, those posts can be optimized for SEO search terms, which, in turn, can help bring presence to your website and blog.

For starters, once you have a blog, it is important to write organic content that is tailored for the reader, not Google. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT keyword stuff your blog posts. By stuffing your blog with keywords you are not only making it harder to read for your patients, but you are also creating a warning to Google that this is spam. So, just go with the flow and write that educational content you know your patients are looking for.

Choosing Blog Topics

This can be an easy idea or not. Look to your patients for help–what are some of their common questions they seem to ask frequently in your office? Take those questions and turn them into blog posts, so they can easily have their questions answered when not in your office.

Do you have a new service or new employee? Blog about it! Share information on the new service and the new employee. By doing this you can educate your patients on an area they might never have known about before, such as sleep apnea!

Take your marketing and practice into your own hands by creating a blog. But don’t forget to update it frequently. If you don’t have time to write a blog every week, I highly recommend hiring a freelance writer–I did and it was the best decision I have made for my marketing, research and writing needs.

Marketing Your Dental Office in 3 Easy Steps

Great news! You’ve decided to expand your practice by including Dental Sleep Medicine and Craniofacial Pain services. So, what is the next step? Let’s start marketing! Whether you decide to higher a big-name marketing company or a freelance writer, creating an effective and successful marketing campaign is important for educating your patients and referring doctors.

1. Get Out There and Introduce Yourself to Your Community

Reach out to your community. Don’t be afraid to let your community know who you are and what services you provide. Introduce your practice to your local sleep specialist or family doctor. By doing this, your local sleep physician or family doctor will be aware of the services you provide, while building a relationship for proper diagnosis and treatment planning.

Introducing yourself to a local sleep physician and family physician is a good way to establish a solid relationship because you’re informing them that you:

  • Are screening your dental patients for sleep apnea
  • Will be referring to them for an evaluation and diagnosis

When you have evaluated and placed an oral appliance in a patient, a follow-up sleep study is recommended to determine the success of your therapy. Once again, this opens up doors since you will utilize the sleep physicians in your community to retest your patients.

2. Learn How to Properly Bill Medical Insurance

It is also important to gain an understanding on how to file a medical claim for oral appliance therapy since dental insurance offers no coverage. There are companies and products one can invest in to better understand medical billing. An example is Nierman Practice Management.

Like many companies, Nierman Practice Management provides a comprehensive suite of products, educational courses and software solutions to help grow your sleep practice. You should also consider being “in network” with medical insurance plans since your patients ask for it. This helps your office become more visible and easily accessible for patients.

3. Enhance Your Web Presence

As you know, your patients utilize the Internet on a daily basis. From shopping to socializing, they can use the Internet for all of their needs, so why aren’t you doing the same?

Creating and improving your web presence is essential in marketing your Dental Sleep Medicine practice. From social media management to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it is important to establish a proper plan for the maintenance of your web presence.

As you know, the Internet is endless, which means your marketing efforts are as well. To begin, I personally utilize a freelance writer, Sara Berg, to manage my marketing and web presence. She provides me with:

  • Custom blog posts
  • Web content
  • Press releases
  • Social media management
  • Professional articles
  • Ghostwriting a book
  • Reviews

Through these services, I am able to maintain a well-rounded web presence and marketing plan—you can, too. You’ve taken the biggest step already—choosing to incorporate Dental Sleep Medicine into your practice.

Now it is time to take charge of marketing your Dental Sleep Medicine and Craniofacial Pain office to reach new patients. What are you waiting for? Get going!