Embrace Alternative Therapies Besides CPAP

This is important to think about: We are lying to ourselves if we don’t embrace alternative therapies other than continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for patients with sleep apnea. While CPAP therapy has been proven to be a successful form of treatment for patients with sleep apnea, it isn’t the only or best way for all patients.

As an alternative to CPAP therapy, oral appliance therapy is important to bring to the attention of your patients. By emphasizing how this alternative therapy option works, you can provide better treatment options for your patients. But, in order to successfully treat patients with oral appliances, I have a few things to point out.

Re-emphasize Bite Change

With your patients, it is important to re-emphasize the bite change that might occur. To help with this, ask the following questions:

  • Are you willing to give two minutes every morning?
  • Are you ok with your back molars not touching?

By asking these questions, you are setting your patients up for success. Oral appliances work, but many patients are hesitant or impatient. Asking if they are willing to give two minutes every morning to perform exercises after wearing the appliance at night will allow you to help them to ensure no bite changes occur.

The exercises work to keep their teeth aligned and bite unchanged. This is also important for the back molars. Use of the oral appliance can keep the back molars from touching if exercises are not completed. Treatment requires dedication from the patient and dentist.

Disruption in Veneers and Crowns

It is also important to note that if a patient has veneers or crowns and they pop off, that has nothing to do with the oral appliance. In fact, it has everything to do with how the treatment was conducted. Veneers or crowns that fall off or crack are typically due to not being cemented in place properly. This has nothing to do with the oral appliance.

Document Everything

This might be the most important part about treatment for your patients–not only because it helps the patient, but because it can protect your office down the road. I cannot emphasize this enough, but you must:

Document everything you say and that it did take place.

I have made this sentence bold while standing on its own because it needs to be said and engrained in your mind for every patient that walks through your office doors. Document everything. And I do mean everything. By including every detail, you can ensure proper treatment is conducted and your patients are made aware of what you said.

 

Attend a future lecture for improved knowledge

Education is the future. If you are searching for was to advance your practice or if you are looking for further guidance for your dental sleep medicine and/or craniofacial pain practice, lectures are available. By attending a lecture, you will take the necessary steps toward improving the services you offer while providing your patients with the care they deserve to live healthy, happy lives.

For your reference, take a look at some of my upcoming lectures:

 

August 11-12, 2017

Topic: Dental Sleep Medicine

Location Toronto, Canada

September 2, 2017

Topic: Dental Sleep Medicine Study Club

Location: Johns Creek GA

September 15-16, 2017

Topic: Pinpoint the Pain: TMD, Cranofacial Pain

Location: Phoenix, AZ

September 29-30, 2017

Topic: Sleep & Pain Mini Residency Session 2

Location: Atlanta, GA

October 5-6, 2017

Topic: Dentistry and dental marketing International conference

Location: Las vegas, NV

October 19, 2017

Topic: ADA 2017 Meeting -Sleep Medicine Panel: Ask the Experts

Location: Atlanta, GA

October 13-14, 2017

Topic: Advancing your Dental Sleep Medicine Practice

Location: Atlanta, GA

November 3-4, 2017

Topic: Dental Sleep Medicine and TMD

Location: London, England

November 10-11, 2017

Topic: Sleep, TMD, & Craniofacial Pain Symposium

Location: Las Vegas, NV

December 1-2, 2017

Topic: Sleep & Pain Mini Residency Session 3

Location: Atlanta, GA

You can also view other upcoming lectures by visiting my website. Choose the lectures that align with your practice’s needs and don’t forget to bring your staff with you! Some of these courses would be great for the whole team!

Don’t be afraid of online reviews

Today more than ever, people are turning to search engines such as Google, along with other trustworthy review sources to find everything from local restaurants and florists to hair stylists and auto repair shops.  The internet is the new phone book, and that means even a person’s choice of a dentist or dental sleep medicine specialist is highly influenced by where your practice ranks on search engines and what other patients are saying about your practice.

While you can’t prevent patients from reviewing your practice, you can increase the number of positive reviews you acquire through proper online reputation management.

Patients use reviews

By the time a patient begins looking at reviews online, they have already decided they need or want a service related to your practice. From looking at reviews, patients are attempting to see if your practice will fit into what they are in search of.

According to a survey conducted by BrightLocal, about 85% of consumers report reading online reviews. But how many do they read before making a decision? Well, the survey also pointed out that about 67% of consumers will read six reviews or less before forming an opinion and making a decision.

And in another survey, about 90% said they made a decision based on good reviews, while 85% made their decision based on negative reviews. So, while you might think positive reviews are the deciding factor, think again. For this reason it is important to respond to negative reviews offline to provide a better experience for that patient.

Start asking patients for reviews

If you haven’t begun to ask your patients to review your practice, what is holding you back? All you need to do is ask your patients. It is important to get your front desk staff on the same page with what they are saying to patients as they check out.

Try asking your staff to share a review card or directing patients to the right area for finding further information about your practice. By asking your patients for reviews, you are generating loyalty, which not only looks good for potential patients, it helps keep patients too.

What are you waiting for? Get out there and begin your online reputation management to further advance your reach for your dental sleep medicine and craniofacial pain practice.

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.