We have all been attempting to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and what it means for us and our patients. While we continue to learn more everyday, we’re still not fully certain about everything.
As more people continue to get vaccinated against COVID-19, we need to think of other ways to protect our patients, especially those with sleep apnea. That’s because we know that quality of sleep is essential for the immune system to be prepared to receive, fight and restore itself after a viral infection. With that, it is important for our patients with obstructive sleep apnea to continue treatment.
Turn to oral appliances
There has been a lot of concern about contamination and spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, when using a CPAP machine. But there is a great alternative that can help improve protection while also offering the treatment patients with sleep apnea need: oral appliances.
Oral appliance therapy has been considered the first choice for patients with sleep apnea and COVID-19. This is because it does not produce contamination of the environment by air leakage and the patient keeps their mouth closed the whole night with it in, which helps to reduce the spread of salivary particles while also being a proven effective treatment for sleep apnea.
Don’t hold back
The COVID-19 pandemic is not something to ignore. With the seriousness of COVID-19, as dentists and other health professionals, we must follow appropriate guidelines of health regulatory agencies in our respective countries.
Because people can transmit the virus without showing any symptoms, we should deem all patients in a dental environment as a potential carrier of SARS-CoV-2. With that, some precaution measures you can take in your office are:
- Use telemedicine whenever possible and appropriate.
- Maintain six feet of distance in the waiting room and any other areas where possible.
- Require mask wearing for all staff and patients, except of course when the patient is receiving treatment.
- Try to use natural ventilation or update the ventilation system in your office.
- Sanitize and wash all surfaces after every visit.
We still have a lot to learn, but it is important that we maintain safety in our offices so we can continue to provide care for our patients with sleep apnea to ensure their health and well-being during the pandemic and beyond.