Who is Part of the Sleep Treatment Process?

When it comes to treating sleep apnea and other sleep breathing disorders, it is important to understand who each member of your team is. While we have mentioned this before, it is always a good idea to refresh your memory of just what each member does. Let’s meet he members of a sleep team, so you can better understand who is there to help in the diagnosis and treatment of your patients:

Board Certified Sleep Medicine Physician

A board certified sleep medicine physician has the necessary skills to diagnose and treat sleep disorders. If you suspect your patient might be suffering from a sleep disorder, the first person you should contact is your local sleep medicine physician. Each sleep medicine specialist has received special training that can prevent serious life-threatening diseases and improve your quality of life.

The Sleep Technologist

A sleep technologist will assist in the evaluation and follow-up care of patients with sleep disorders—they interact directly with the patients. They will assist the sleep medicine physician with diagnostic tests, including in-lab sleep studies, multiple sleep latency testing (MSLT) and the maintenance of wakefulness testing (MWT). A sleep technologist will also score sleep tests prior to the physician’s interpretation, while also assisting patients with their home sleep tests.

Advance Practice Nurse/Physician Assistant

Nurses and physicians assist the sleep medicine physician in providing care for your sleep patients. Their roles will vary by state, but both typically practice within the scope of practice as defined by a state licensing board.

Sleep Surgeon

Also known as an otolaryngologist, a sleep surgeon has a specific interest in treating snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep surgeons work closely with a board certified sleep physician to provide proper care for patients who cannot tolerate CPAP therapy. The sleep surgeon can discuss with your patient each surgery option available.

Behavioral Sleep Medicine Specialist

Mental health professionals that have training in behavioral sleep medicine can work with patients to address the behavioral, psychological and physiological factors that might be interfering with their sleep. A behavioral sleep medicine specialist will use cognitive-behavioral therapy to attempt to eliminate habits, behaviors and environmental disruptions that stand in the way of optimal rest.

As a dental sleep medicine specialist, you can often recognize a sleeping problem before it worsens. You can also provide effective treatment for your patients. Dr. Mayoor Patel is available to help teach and guide you in your role as a dental sleep medicine specialist and how you can successfully treat your patients.

A Day in the Life: Run Your Practice Like the Experts

At Nierman Practice Management, we have some upcoming lectures that I think you will love! For today I want to touch base on A Day in the Life: Run Your Practice Like the Experts. I highly recommend attending this lecture series to further enhance your practice and your understanding of how to properly run your practice when incorporating Dental Sleep Medicine.

What is it?

This is a two-day “over-the-shoulder” seminar that gives you the opportunity to firsthand experience how the experts run a successful dental sleep medicine or TMD practice. By having a credentialed mentor, it can help to propel you and your team to the next level in expanding your practice. Through shadowing, you will be able to discuss how to overcome specific roadblocks you may be facing. And, the pieces will come together at a much faster rate than trying to do it all on your own. After all, don’t you wish you could have questions answered immediately rather than having to wait for a response through email or a tutorial? I thought so; me too.

[Insert Video – “Dr. Mayoor Patel & Nierman CE Shadowing for Dental Sleep & TMD”] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BqStiC8Xpw

This course is perfect for practices that have already taken several courses and are ready for a dedicated hands-on learning experience that will be essential to their growth as a sleep medicine dentist. Remember, though, in order to keep each session as personalized as possible, attendance is limited to three practices by application only.

I look forward to seeing you in December and hopefully working together to get your practice on track for dental sleep medicine and TMD services! You can also visit the lectures section of my website for more dates and times for different lectures.

Upcoming Lectures to Get You Ready for Fall

It’s that time again! While your children might be getting ready to go back to school, don’t you think it is time for you to think about continuing your education, too? I think so! As your children get ready for school, make sure you take a look at some of our upcoming lectures for the rest of the year. Here are the lectures from September through the end of the year because you won’t want to miss out!

Pinpoint the Pain

Our Pinpoint the Pain lecture series takes place September 25-26, 2015 and is located in Jupiter, Florida. This two-day seminar gives dentists the opportunity to understand the neuroanatomical relationship within the cranio-cervical area that can complicate the diagnosis of a simple toothache or other orofacial related pain. Pain referral patterns can render misdiagnosis, which can potentially lead to unnecessary or ineffective treatment. In this lecture series, we will discuss pain and how to pinpoint pain.

Advanced Dental Sleep Medicine

In this two-day lecture series in Jupiter, Florida we will take a look at Advanced Dental Sleep Medicine. October 9-10, 2015, join us in this two-day lecture series on the next step in implementing dental sleep medicine. It empowers dentists and their teams to overcome clinical and administrative obstacles to incorporate sleep apnea into their practice.

Other Lectures

In addition to these lectures, check out some more upcoming lectures throughout the year:

October 23-24, 2015

Topic: Sleep Medicine for the Sleep Dentist  & Hygienist’s Role in dental Sleep Medicine

Location: Atlantic City, NJ

November 11-14, 2015

Topic: Sleep Medicine and Dentistry Mini-Residency Class 3

Location: San Diego, CA

December 4-5, 2015

Topic: A Multidisciplinary Pain, TMD and Sleep Symposium 

Location: Atlanta, GA

December 14-15, 2015

Topic: A day in the life: Run your practice like the experts

Location: Atlanta, GA

Explore each of the upcoming lectures to choose which ones would be best for you and your office! I look forward to potentially meeting you and helping you with your journey to improve services offered in your practice!

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!