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.

How to Use Dr. Patel’s Educational Sleep Apnea Book

In March of 2015 I teamed up with Dr. Dillard to create Freedom from CPAP: Sleep Apnea Hurts, the Cure Doesn’t Have To. Together we wanted to educate dentists and other physicians on sleep apnea and the options available for treatment. If you haven’t picked up this educational book on sleep apnea, I highly suggest purchasing at least one copy now. And, if you have already purchased the book, now what?

With the availability of this educational book on sleep apnea, I want to help you help your patients receive the care they need through better understanding. Purchase the book for yourself or your entire dental office. By reading this book you can take the next steps toward a better understanding of sleep apnea and the treatment options available. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can use this educational book to help your patients and staff in the area of sleep apnea.

Educate Patients on Sleep Apnea

The main purpose of this sleep apnea book is to get your patients “in the know” about sleep apnea. We work to inform you and your patients on sleep apnea and what it is–because not everyone understands this often debilitating sleep disorder. By understanding sleep apnea, your patients can take proactive steps toward better health.

Whether you sell this book to your patient, or give it to them, allow your patient to read this book for further knowledge of sleep apnea and treatment options available. The goal of this book is to educate patients on what sleep apnea is and what treatment options, other than CPAP, are currently available for comfortable care.

Maintain an Informed Dental Team

Freedom from CPAP: Sleep Apnea Hurts, the Cure Doesn’t Have To can also be a beneficial tool for your office to read themselves while also sharing the information with patients. Supply this book for your team, or have them purchase the book to improve their knowledge and understanding of sleep apnea ($15 is a steal for a book these days!). While it is important for patients to understand this condition, it is even more important for your dental office to know sleep apnea, what it is and how to treat it. Knowledgeable staff members go a long way in helping with diagnosis and treatment of your patients.

Take charge of your office and your patients’ health by providing, “Freedom from CPAP: Sleep Apnea Hurts, the Cure Doesn’t Have To.” The more your patients and staff know, the better they are equipped to take the next steps in sleep apnea recognition and treatment. Click here to purchase Freedom from CPAP: Sleep Apnea Hurts, the Cure Doesn’t Have To.