Teamwork makes the dream work, right? That’s what we see in just about everything we do. From baseball players to business people, teamwork is what keeps us going. That means it shouldn’t end with medical care or dental work. As dentists, we need to create our own teamwork, especially when it comes to diagnosing and treating patients with sleep apnea.
I know you aren’t standing in front of a line of people waiting to be picked by one of the two captains, but it is still important to establish a working relationship with your local sleep physician. Collaboration with a sleep physician allows your office to send patients for a diagnosis while also receiving referrals for oral appliance therapy for the treatment of sleep apnea. Here is how a relationship with your local sleep physician can help.
Gives your patients a diagnosis
To begin, dentists DO NOT diagnose–it is important to remember you need a diagnosis from a sleep physician before beginning treatment. By building a rapport with a sleep physician you can send your patients their way for a proper diagnosis. Begin now by introducing yourself, and providing information about what you know and services you offer your patients–the more they know the better.
Allows you to receive sleep apnea treatment referrals
When patients are CPAP non-compliant, what other options do they have for treatment? Many are unaware of the availability of oral appliance therapy, which often is the same for many sleep physicians. By not only educating your patients, but sleep physicians, too, you can begin receiving referrals to your office. As you know, mild to moderate sleep apnea can often be treated with oral appliance therapy.
Physicians who understand oral appliance therapy can frequently refer patients to your office for proper care when CPAP therapy is not working or the patient doesn’t want to utilize a CPAP machine. It can also be beneficial for combination therapy with both the oral appliance and CPAP machine.
To learn more about building a relationship with a sleep physician, sign up for an upcoming lecture, or schedule a consultation and shadowing options. Together we can improve your service offerings.