Tell your patients: Losing just 16 minutes of sleep is bad

It is important for our patients to know that even just losing a little bit of sleep at night can affect how productive you are at work. In fact, losing just 16 minutes of sleep is bad. It can play a negative role in your patient’s daily life.

A study from researchers at the University of South Florida looked at 130 employees who work in information technology and have at least one child in school. Over the course of eight days, participants logged how much they slept and answer a series of questions.

What the results showed

Questions in the survey focused on how often participants experienced off-task or distracting thoughts during the day on a scale of zero to four. The results showed that participants who lost as little as 16 minutes of sleep on a  nightly basis had more distracting thoughts. This made it more difficult for them to finish their tasks at work.

For adults older than 18 years old, it is important to get at least seven hours of sleep a night, according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unfortunately, though, about one-third of Americans are not getting that required amount of sleep per night.

We need to make sure our patients are getting an appropriate amount of sleep each night to ensure their health and well-being.

Join us in Chapel Hill for a Craniofacial Pain and TMJ mini residency

Join Terry Bennett, DMD, Mayoor Patel, DDS, MS, UNC’s Greg Essick, DDS, and Rose Nierman, RDH, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina for the 2019 Orofacial Pain Mini Residency! This craniofacial pain and TMJ mini residency will help you better care for your patients.

The Orofacial Pain Mini-Residency is a comprehensive 2-session, 40 CE Credit program designed to give dental practices the knowledge and guidance to fully incorporate orofacial pain treatment into their practice.

With an emphasis on hands-on learning, attendees gain the skills and confidence needed to be successful in all aspects of TMD & craniofacial pain treatment.

Session 1: June 28-30, 2019     Friday & Saturday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

                                                        Sunday 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Session 2: Aug 23-25, 2019       Friday & Saturday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

                                                        Sunday 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Meet the speakers

Greg Essick, DDS. Professor in the Department of Restorative Sciences and Director of the Dental Sleep Clinic at UNC. He is also author/co-author of over 120 journal articles and book chapters, the most recent pertaining to sleep medicine and pain.

Mayoor Patel, DDS, MS. He is a diplomate of ABCP, ABDSM, ABCDSM and ABOP. He is also a board member of ABCP and ABCDSM, and examination chair for ABCP. Dr. Patel’s practice is limited to dental sleep medicine and craniofacial pain.

Terry Bennett, DMD. Diplomate of ABCP, ABDSM and ABCDSM. Dr. Bennett is the former president of the AACP and his practice is limited to dental sleep medicine and craniofacial pain.

Rose Nierman, RDH. Founder/CEO Nierman Practice Management. Rose is the most experienced and recognized educator nationwide in CrossCroding. She makes medical billing fun and rewarding to learn.

What will be covered?

Session 1 consists of neuroanatomy, the concepts and fundamentals of pain, musculoskeletal disorders, neuropathic disorders, neurovascular disorders, and hands-on examination and documentation systems, and finishing with medical billing for TMD treatment.

Session 2 includes imaging, pharmaceuticals, and adjunct therapy for orofacial pain. Therapy for craniomandibular disorders, orthotic therapy, and a review of other common orofacial pain conditions is covered before diving into hands-on injection therapy, and closing with sleep and pain, and case studies.
Don’t forget to register today! We hope to see you in Chapel Hill, North Carolina!

What is the burden of sleep apnea?

It is estimated that more than 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep loss and sleep apnea affect an individual’s performance, safety and quality of life. Almost 20 percent of all serious car crash injuries in the general population are associated with sleepy drivers, independent of alcohol impact. Sleep loss and sleep disorders can also play a large role on the economy. This adds to the burden of sleep apnea. When we take a look at the high estimated costs to society if sleep apnea is left untreated, it costs far more than what would be incurred by delivering adequate treatments.

Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on direct medical costs associated with doctor visits, hospital services, prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. When compared to healthy individuals, those who suffer from sleep loss and sleep disorders are less productive. These individuals also experience an increased healthcare utilization and an increased likelihood of accidents.

The Effects of Untreated Sleep Apnea

Despite clear signs and symptoms, many patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) go undiagnosed. In return, patients who finally get diagnosed with OSA might have had obvious symptoms of the disorder for an average of seven years. During those seven years, patients report visiting their family physician about 17 times and a sub-specialist about nine times. With repeated visits, these patients are not receiving the treatment they need to lead healthy, happy lives.

Patients can also experience a number of health conditions associated with untreated sleep apnea, including:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Acid Reflux
  • Obesity

With these negative effects of untreated sleep apnea, it is vital that we as dentists take charge of our services so that we can offer patients the best care possible—and that includes adding specialty practices in the area of dental sleep medicine.

Get Involved in Screening for Dental Sleep Medicine and Craniofacial Pain Services

With the year almost over, we need to re-evaluate our roles and practices. As the remaining months unfold and you begin to think ahead to the new year, let’s look at ways you can continue to improve your practice and the services offered. Think about screening for dental sleep medicine (sleep apnea) and Craniofacial Pain–have you ever thought about these areas?

It is estimated that more than 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea and 45 million from craniofacial pain. Both sleep apnea and craniofacial pain have been proven to need the expertise of a dentist to help in the screening process. Let’s change our patients’ perceptions on dental care and help them get a better night’s sleep, as well as eliminating pain, by screening for these advanced conditions.

What You Can Do

The first step is to train your staff in what sleep apnea and craniofacial pain are. By informing your staff about signs and symptoms, you can begin to get your office involved in screening. You have several opportunities to identify prospective patients and screening opportunities for advanced diagnosis and care with help from your local dental sleep medicine specialist and sleep physician:

  1. Place educational material, such as posters or brochures, in your waiting room and hygiene rooms. These are great areas for developing verbal dialogue about sleep apnea and craniofacial pain.  
  2. Ask simple questions about their daily health and complications, as well as utilizing the epworth sleepiness scale. These options help in screening.
  3. Every office requires paperwork to be filled out, so why not ask a few extra questions to get the conversation going? Ask about pain, headaches and sleep complications–it only takes a moment.
  4. Review the health questionnaire–it may suggest potential undiagnosed conditions. An example would be a patient with uncontrolled diabetes, A-Fib, GERD, obesity, history of stroke and so on. These conditions may lead you to pushing for your patients to go get diagnosed for a unsuspected SDB.
  5. The exam itself will help you understand signs and symptoms the patient might be having. This is also a great time to create dialogue about the patient’s experience with fatigue, headaches and other complications.

You might have more information then you can digest, but, frankly, we were all once in the same position with information overload. Start by role playing during lunch and understand the flow it will take in screening, discussing, referring and following up with patients that you suspect have sleep apnea, craniofacial pain or other conditions.

Screen each of your patients and, if suspected, refer out for further analysis and diagnosis from an experienced physician. Let’s help our patients overcome further complications with sleep apnea and craniofacial pain by screening each patient and sending out for referral.