Why don’t more sleep physicians recommend oral appliances for OSA?

It’s an important question that many of us continue to wonder about – why aren’t more sleep physicians recommending oral appliances for sleep apnea? Well, to begin with, there appears to be a lack of data on the subject. While most dentists understand the importance of using oral appliances for the treatment of sleep apnea, physicians are still not in the know. So let’s get them some data.

What information is out there?

After doing a quick search through Google Scholar I found the following studies that showcase how effective oral appliances are for the treatment of sleep apnea in our patients:

Another reason is because they may not be comfortable with the process. If that is the case, then we must help them get more acquainted. This can be done by contacting their offices and educating them on the services we provide. Through proper education and understanding, you can help sleep physicians become better acquainted with oral appliance therapy as a successful alternative to the CPAP machine.

They are ignorant about topics they know little about, which is why it is important to educate them on oral appliances. Look up studies, attend classes and do what you can to provide the information they need to better understand this treatment alternative so we can all continue to help patients get a better night’s sleep.

Lymphatic System’s Connection with Migraines and Sleep

In a study posted by the Washington Post, scientists studied lymphatic vessels for more than two decades. For more than 300 years it was accepted that the lymphatic vessels stopped at the brain. However, this recent study by scientists found new answers. Utilizing mice with glowing lymphatic systems, Kari Alitalo found that the heads of the mice glowed, which showed a link between the lymphatic system and the head. This is where migraines and sleep come into play.

A Migraine Connection

Harvard University researchers found that glymphatic flow (is a functional waste clearance pathway for the vertebrate central nervous system (CNS)) significantly decreases in the period just before a migraine. The intense pain of migraines is caused by inflamed nerves in the tissue that surrounds the brain. As a result of faulty clearance of molecular waste from the brain, it can trigger inflammation in these pain fibers, which leads to disturbingly painful headaches.

Sleep’s Role

Another link with the glymphatic flow is sleep–the system appears to process twice as much fluid during sleep as it does during the time awake. In this situation, the lymphatic system removed more of the protein when the mice were asleep than when they were awake. As suggested, over time sleep dysfunction may also contribute to Alzheimer’s and even brain illnesses. While you are sleeping, you clean your brain, so when you can’t sleep, your brain suffers–you need that time for housekeeping.

Sleep position is also important. When a person sleeps in an upright position, waste is not removed properly. Sleeping on your stomach is also not effective with the back being somewhat better. When laying on your side, it appears to show much better results. Sleep might not be the only way to improve glymphatic flow, but it is one of the better ways.

We need to continue to take these advancements and improve our services to our patients. With a connection between the lymphatic system, migraines and sleep, we can keep offering our patients the care they need to remain healthy and happy. Let’s take these advancements and work toward an improved understanding of the migraine and sleep connection with the lymphatic system.

Complete Continuing Education at ADA 2017

The American Dental Association (ADA) has now opened registration for ADA 2017! This is a great event that takes place every year for dentists and their team members to stay abreast of the latest changes in dentistry. It even offers dentists a chance to complete continuing education to continue to advance their practices—it’s a win-win for everyone. And, this year, I will be joining ADA 2017 as a panel speaker on dental sleep medicine!

About ADA 2017

ADA 2017—America’s Dental Meeting at the Georgia World Congress Center will be taking place in Atlanta from October 19-23! Dentists from all over the country will be joining ADA 2017 to learn more about dentistry, advanced education and other topics. There will also be a block party, and a special appearance from Peyton Manning, an all around humanitarian dedicated to various foundations. Be sure to visit the Exhibit Hall, too, where hundreds of companies will be showcasing the latest products and technology! If you are in search of continuing education, you can visit ADA.org/meeting/continuing-education and the preliminary program can be downloaded at ADA.org/en/meeting/attendee-information.

Dental Sleep Medicine Panel

Now is the time to get hands on experience within advanced areas of dentistry! At this year’s ADA 2017, I will be participating in the Sleep Medicine Panel: Ask the Experts on Thursday, October 19th from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. This panel is available to help you grow as a dentist within the dental sleep medicine field.

If you have ever attended a continuing education course for dental sleep medicine with questions, now is the time to speak up. I will join three other sleep experts on this panel to present short summaries of our approaches for treating patients. Don’t worry; there will be plenty of room for in-depth discussion of what is on your mind. Feel free to bring your team, as well as billing and practical questions for us to answer!

I want to make sure you leave here with the knowledge you need to successfully implement dental sleep medicine at your practice. By attending this course, you will leave with a better understanding of various perspectives of treating sleep patients in your dental office, improved confidence in practicing dental sleep medicine, and comfort in billing medical insurance for sleep therapy.

I look forward to meeting you all and helping you better understand dental sleep medicine! To learn more, please visit our ADA 2017 course page.

Consulting for Dental Sleep Medicine and Craniofacial Pain

Let me help you. While you might be out there completing your continuing education courses, what about further guidance while in your office? If you are in search of further insight into implementing dental sleep medicine and/or craniofacial pain in your dental office, I can help. As a dentist who has been in the same spot as you, I want to help you provide your patients with the best services possible since I have been there before. It’s perfectly fine having a little extra help in implementing these advanced services. By contacting me for consulting services, I can help you and your team.

What is Involved in Consulting?

Through consulting, we can focus on the following information to improve the implementation of Dental Sleep Medicine and/or TMD into your office:

  • Identifying and diagnosing patients
  • Examining patients
  • Providing accurate treatment
  • Including your staff as a well rounded team
  • Billing for the office and insurance

In addition to implementing these services into your office, it is important to adopt a marketing strategy. From Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to Social Media Management and other forms of marketing, it is imperative that you take charge of your marketing. While the availability of dental sleep medicine and craniofacial pain in your office is the most important step, you need to attract patients and educate them on these areas, which is where your marketing plan comes into play—we can help with that, too.

As an expert in the areas of dental sleep medicine and craniofacial pain, I welcome you to contact me for consulting information. Through consultations, I can help you and your practice with the implementation of dental sleep medicine and/or craniofacial pain, as well as guiding you in the right direction for marketing and other information. Whether you are a general dentistry office, or you are starting up a specialty practice that focuses on these two areas specifically, contacting me for consulting is important.