Dental Sleep Medicine is “In”

The doctor is usually “in,” but with advancements in dentistry and technology, we can now see that Dental Sleep Medicine is “in.” With the growing need for Dental Sleep Medicine and treatment of sleep apnea, it is important for dentists to expand their experience and knowledge of this area of dentistry.

Stand Out

When it comes to a successful dental practice, it is important to stand out. As you may know, patients are drawn to practices that provide superior, unique services and the availability of Dental Sleep Medicine can be your key to standing out. Your general services are often a “given,” which means they are expected, but what can you do to expand on that?

The idea and availability of Dental Sleep Medicine is a great way to expand on your practice and engage with your patients. We all want to get a better night’s sleep, but that can sometimes be difficult if your patient suffers from sleep apnea. As a dentist you have a unique advantage because you can identify symptoms and triggers initially. From this, you can recommend a visit to the physician in which you can work side by side in proper treatment.

What are Patients Looking for?

You may or may not already know what patients are looking for, but it is important to make sure you understand it. We know that over 20 years ago, the most popular form of dentistry was teeth whitening. As dentistry advances, the popularity of different areas continues to change. Today, many dentists have seen that Dental Sleep Medicine has replaced teeth whitening in popularity and necessity. By knowing this, you can continue to improve your practice and what makes it “stand out” to patients.

By offering Dental Sleep Medicine in your dental practice, you can attract many new patients, while standing out among other offices. Attend classes, lectures and other training sessions to learn more about Dental Sleep Medicine and be the “go-to” dentist in your area.

Join Forces with Physicians

When it comes to Dental Sleep Medicine, you want to be the dentist that physicians refer patients to. Become an active member of your community and introduce yourself to physicians in your local community, especially your local sleep specialist.

By introducing yourself you are marketing yourself and your practice so that your local sleep physician is aware of the services you provide. This also helps in building a strong relationship for proper diagnosis and treatment planning for your patients.

Get Patients Diagnosed

Referrals to provide oral appliance therapy are essential in maintaining your Dental Sleep Medicine practice, but it is also important to get your patients diagnosed. With a close relationship with your local sleep physician, you can easily refer your patients to them for diagnosis. By establishing a solid relationship, you are letting them know that you are screening your dental patients for sleep apnea and will be referring patients to them for evaluation and diagnosis.

Eliminate Unnecessary Repeat Tests

Additionally, joining forces with your local physician helps you to eliminate unnecessary repeat sleep studies. Once an oral appliance is placed, a follow-up sleep study is recommended to determine the success of the therapy. If you have a close relationship with a local sleep laboratory, you can also discuss the devices you use on your patients with the lab. By doing this you can further help your patients during treatment.

I encourage you to contact me today for tips and information on how to introduce yourself to the healthcare community so that they are aware of these unique services that you offer your patients.

Educate Your Patients

While it is extremely important to educate yourself and your dental staff on dental sleep medicine and TMD, it is even more important to make sure you are educating your patients. A patient that is “in the know” with important information will be able to properly care for themselves and reach out to your office when a problem arises.

What is Patient Education?

Patient education is when you provide your patients with verbal or written material on a specific topic or area of interest. For your dental office, you would be providing your patients with valuable information on sleep apnea, TMD, craniofacial pain or other areas of Dental Sleep Medicine. These materials are used to help improve patient understanding and prevent complications.

Your educational material should offer patients an increased understanding of dental sleep medicine, the process and instructions about activities and treatments to help assist the patient.  Providing educational material for your dental office can result in improved long-term outcomes, which ultimately lead to better coping and decision-making skills.

The Benefits for Patients

An informed and educated patient can actively participate in his or her own treatment at your dental office. They can also improve outcomes, and help to identify problems before they occur. Some other benefits of educating your patients include:

  • Increasing your patient’s ability to cope with and manage their health.
  • Empowering patients to make important decisions in relation to their care.
  • Helping patients learn how to improve their health.
  • Increasing patient confidence in his or her care.
  • Decreasing treatment complications.

 
How Can Your Office Benefit?

While your patients will greatly benefit from education, your dental office can also benefit greatly. By providing targeted and appropriate patient education, your office can experience the following benefits:

  • Increased patient satisfaction
  • Compliance with regulatory standards
  • Improved efficiency through cost-effective care

 
Knowledge is power, which means patient education is powerful for the patient and your office. To learn more about incorporating Dental Sleep Medicine into your practice and providing education to your patients, Dr. Mayoor Patel offers Consulting services to help each step of the way. Contact Dr. Patel today for more information.

Orofacial Pain and Your Dental Office

As a dentist you hold the key to a lot more than you may know. Previously we discussed sleep apnea and your office. In addition to treating sleep apnea, you can also provide appropriate treatment for patients suffering from orofacial pain. The specialty of orofacial pain focuses on the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of orofacial pain disorders.

Such disorders may have pain and associated symptoms arising from a discrete cause, such as postoperative pain or pain associated with a malignancy. Syndromes in which pain constitutes the primary problem, such as TMJ disorder pain, neuropathic pains or headaches, may also cause Orofacial pain.

The diagnosis of painful syndromes requires you, the dentist, to properly interpret historical data, including:

  • Review of laboratory studies
  • Imaging
  • Behavioral, social and occupational assessment
  • Interview and examination by the orofacial pain specialist

 
Orofacial pain is constantly evolving, which is why it is important to receive further education and training so that you can provide your patients with improved services beyond the norm. Currently, the area of orofacial pain encompasses the following areas:

  • Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD)
  • Sleep disorders related to orofacial pain
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Intraoral, intracranial, extracranial and systemic disorders that cause orofacial pain

 
Please visit my “Lectures” page at http://www.mpateldds.com/lectures/ to learn more about upcoming lectures on craniofacial pain, TMD or dental sleep medicine. I also offer consulting, to further improve your practice and your understanding of these different areas of dentistry. Improve your practice and expand your knowledge in dentistry by understanding orofacial pain.