05.06.2015
During sleep, gravity and muscle relaxation allows the tongue and surrounding soft tissues to fall back into the throat area obstructing air flow. The diagnosis of sleep apnea may be estimated by taking a thorough sleep and medical history; however, it requires objective testing during sleep to confirm and quantify. Dentists are in a unique position to provide limited medical therapy for patients with SRDB conditions for many reasons.
Properly trained dentists were acknowledged by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), as being able to provide first line therapy for the treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea.
Only dentists are able to fabricate, fit, adjust, monitor, and treat complications associated with Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT), used in managing SRBD.
Because dentists see patients on a regular maintenance schedule during wellness dental and dental hygiene care, they are in a unique position to identify early SRBD illness. Dentists are familiar with the mouth, oral cavity and parts of the upper airway and can easily learn to screen components of the airway with little additional training.
Identifying the CPAP non-compliant group and offering OAT co-therapy with physicians is uniquely possible for dentists. Through screening and co-treating, dentists add to the limited supply of medical practitioners who are able to assist in this area of medicine.


Increased public awareness of sleep disorders has resulted in increased public demand for more patient-friendly, non-surgical treatment options besides CPAP.
Current dental training in SRBD is increasing and there are now expanding avenues for the interested dentist wanting to take the journey towards competency in treating this problem. We will provide you with information that is accurate, authoritative, and trustworthy on all aspects of dentistry.
However, it also includes any associated daytime sleepiness and sense of poor restfulness even with adequate time spent sleeping.
While the current gold standard for testing is an overnight, observed, laboratory sleep study in a sleep lab called a Polysomnogram (PSG), the trend towards more cost-effective and readily available testing has stimulated growth of home sleep testing. However, there are two main avenues dentists may take in helping to address this enormous health burden. Because dentists see patients on a regular maintenance schedule during wellness dental and dental hygiene care, they are in a unique position to identify early SRBDs. They may also identify sleep disorders by observing a SRBD behavior such as "snorers in dental chair" where patients fall asleep within a short time at dental appointments. The bar is being raised with earlier exposure of our future dentists to this medical problem and how they can contribute to its identification and co-management.


An example includes the excessively sleepy individual who takes naps daily, drinks massive amounts of coffee and energy drinks, and despite 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night continues to experience excessive drowsiness and a lack of energy.
There are also mixed apnea patients who have both obstructive and central apnea events during their sleep cycle. The second method is to co-treat the condition with the patient's physician using Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT), oral surgical procedures, or possibly orthodontic approaches. These dental approaches address increasing the volume of the upper airway primarily by bringing the tongue forward away from the throat.
There is a great deal of scientific evidence supporting both the OAT and surgical, hard tissue approaches; thus, dentists should actively seek training to reach competency so they can offer these treatment options to their patients. Properly trained dentists have been acknowledged by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), as being able to provide first line therapy for the treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea. Only dentists are able to fabricate, fit, adjust, monitor, and treat complications associated with Oral Appliance Therapy, used in managing SRBD.



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