Let’s revisit dental sleep medicine and what it means for dentists

We’ve talked about this before, but I think it is time we revisit what dental sleep medicine is and how dentists can take advantage of this unique opportunity. So, what is dental sleep medicine (DSM) exactly?

DSM is an area of dentistry focusing on the use of oral appliance therapy to manage sleep-disordered breathing. And that includes snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). When providing dental sleep medicine services, dentists will work together with sleep specialists to help identify the best treatment option for each patient.

What is the dentist’s role?

Dentists pioneered the use of oral appliance therapy for the treatment of OSA and snoring–cool, right? The use of an oral appliance allows for a more comfortable treatment option for many patients that might be CPAP inept. It is similar to a mouth guard for sports or an orthodontic retainer, which makes for an easier solution to a condition. A custom-fit oral sleep appliance is an effective treatment for preventing the airway from collapsing by supporting the jaw in a forward position–an easy solution for a complicated condition.

Dental sleep medicine specialists work with sleep physicians to gain a diagnosis after they might have noticed symptoms or signs of sleep disordered breathing or a patient’s responses to a questionnaire showed a possibility of this condition. From a diagnosis through a sleep physician, dentists can plan for proper treatment with oral appliance therapy.

Have you ever thought about providing your patients with dental sleep medicine services? Now is the time to get out there and gain a better understanding of this unique area of dentistry to help your patients live happy, healthy, well-rested lives.

Chronic Pain and Addiction: What are Your Thoughts?

A Huffington Post article discusses the opioid epidemic in the United States. This epidemic continues to increase dramatically with over 2 million Americans struggling with abuse of an opioid pain reliever. This Huffington Post article discusses the effects of chronic pain and how addiction can grow from this. Let’s take a closer look:

The Article

An estimated 100 million Americans experience chronic pain. This chronic pain can be caused by an injury, with the most common complaints of headaches, neck pain, facial pain, lower back pain, and others. Unfortunately, though, many times the pain can be enigmatic and complex or difficult to diagnose. When this happens, treatment might seem too out of reach for many patients, who then result to pain medications, such as opioids, to cope.

Women and Pain

Women are more likely to suffer from chronic pain and TMD than men. Temporomandibular joint disorders can have a wide effect on the jaw, head, and neck, and can be attributed to headaches. TMD can also be linked to pain in the ears and can be caused by:

  • Bruxism
  • Poor Body Structure
  • Growth abnormalities
  • Trauma
  • Hormones
  • Stress
  • Problems in the brain and nervous system

This pain can also lead to further complications, such as sleep disturbances. With 42 million people reporting pain or physical discomfort disrupting their sleep throughout the week, it is important to provide our patients with proper treatment. Through proper treatment we can hope that we can eliminate or decrease opioid use and addiction among women.

Let’s keep an eye on this topic and see what more we can do as dentists and craniofacial pain specialists. But before I end, I want to know what your thoughts are on this topic? Should we be doing something more?

Managing Headaches in Patients with Sleep Apnea

Have your patients ever complained about headaches? Do they suffer from sleep apnea AND experience headaches? Many times, patients with headaches will have a hard time sleeping, or attempt to go to a quiet space to sleep in order to relieve their throbbing pain. One common indicator of sleep apnea is waking up with headaches. In fact, at least 50% of people who wake up with headaches might have sleep apnea. Another common problem that can cause headaches upon waking is bruxism, or teeth grinding. So, when your patients experience headaches, what do you do?

Providing Treatment

Sleep-related headaches are a throbbing pain, which can include nausea and vomiting. As a dentist, you can help provide relief through the availability of an oral appliance. Many times, bite guards or oral appliances can help relieve aching jaw muscles caused by bruxism or misaligned jaws that might be leading to sleep apnea.

Through treatment of sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy, your patients can experience improved sleep while also resolving any pain they might be experiencing from headaches. In addition to oral appliance therapy, it is also important for patients to maintain a regular sleep schedule as well.

Let’s take charge of our patients’ health by providing proper treatment of sleep apnea and headaches. Visit my lecture page for ways to learn more.

Revisit These 3 Marketing Strategies in 2017

We are already three months into 2017, so where is your marketing plan? Have you begun planning, or is it just sitting by the wayside? When creating your marketing plan for the rest of the year, it is important to focus on making sure your products and services meet your patients and their needs–a proper marketing plan will develop long-term and profitable relationships with those patients. Follow this list of 4 dental office-marketing ideas to consider this year:

1. A Monthly Newsletter

As a practice that is establishing their role in dental sleep medicine and craniofacial pain, you might benefit by sending out monthly emails to your patients that targets the importance of getting treated. Some information might include:

  • What is sleep apnea?
  • What is Craniofacial Pain?
  • What is TMD?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • What treatment options are available?
  • How can my dentist help me?

The questions and tips that you can include in these newsletters are limitless. And, if you’re stuck on what to write, just listen to your patients and their needs! Through email marketing you can further reach your patients because majority of patients check their emails multiple times a day.

2.Get Social

I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again. Social media is an essential part to every marketing plan.  Utilize Facebook or Twitter to post fun facts to patients or updates on your practice. When patients see these “fun facts” they will be more prone to share with their friends. Without engagement, your patients will simply browse over the information without really paying attention.

3. Content Creation Through Blogging

Blog posts are an extension of your website and another way to get content out there that is searchable through Google. While writing your blog posts, be sure to include keywords so that your blog post comes up when a patient is looking for specific information. You can utilize your blog to share educational or office information—the choice is yours.

Contact Dr. Mayoor Patel for more information on how you can successfully market your dental office this year.