As you know, Mayoor Patel, DDS, contributed to a textbook on dental sleep medicine with many specialized researchers and clinicians. This book was created to further expand dentists’ knowledge of dental sleep medicine in order to expand services offered to help patients overcome their sleep apnea and live healthy, happy lives.
In the chapter, “Examination for dental sleep medicine,” Dr. Patel worked with G. Gary Demerjian, DDS, to share more.
What this chapter brings
As dentists, we are vital players in oral conditions and diseases in patients’ well-being. Often, dentists are on the front lines for identifying potential patients with some form of systemic disease.
When dentists are properly trained in dental sleep medicine, they can treat patients who have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea using an oral appliance, or a dental sleep appliance. The chapter notes that a dental sleep appliance is used because it is worn in the mouth during sleep to maintain a patent oropharyngeal airway to manage sleep apnea and snoring. But in the field of dentistry, the term oral appliance is used because it is a generic term for many types of appliances.
Dentists play a key role
Practicing dentists who have some knowledge of sleep disorders are just as likely to recognize potential patients who may have a sleep disorder as physicians are. We know that physicians are properly trained to evaluate for a sleep disorder or to obtain a sleep history, which means the possibility of uncovering a sleep disorder is more likely.
But at the same time, dentists and hygienists can do the same. Together, dentists and hygienists who see patients on a regular basis are more prone to identifying sleep disorders too. This chapter will cover how to do a dental sleep examination and documentation.