Dental Hygiene CE Courses: Dental Sleep Medicine
Dental hygienists play a vital role in screening for signs of obstructive sleep apnea. It is likely that no other healthcare provider spends as much time assessing an individual’s oral anatomy as his or her hygienist. Together with the supervising dentist, hygienists can identify possible risk factors for sleeping disorders and make an appropriate referral to a licensed sleep physician.
Start by Educating yourself, then your patient
It is estimated that 18 million Americans suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), yet over 80% go undiagnosed. Imagine how many of the patient’s you see are exerting so much of their energy just the breath while they sleep that by the time they wake in the morning they are simply exhausted. As a hygienist, you can become an integral part of their treatment and path to better health by becoming familiar with the signs and symptoms of this prominent disease.
Dental Hygienists /Assistants Role
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a medical disorder, dentists and dental hygienists are not qualified nor legally permitted to diagnose a patient with a sleep disorder. A diagnosis must be made by a board certified physician.
However, hygienists do play an important role in the recognition of sleep disorders. You can prescreen your patients with simple questions like:
- Have you ever been diagnosed with a sleep breath disorder like sleep apnea?
- Have you ever been told you snore?
- Do you ever have morning headaches? Frequently wake up still tired?
- Have you ever been told you stop breathing in your sleep or wake up gasping?
Simply having a conversation with your patient about the quality of their sleep is a great first step. Additionally, observing a few anatomical traits during the hygiene examination is also helpful. Typical anatomic traits that may contribute to OSA include, but are not limited to:
- Size of tongue, uvula
- Tonsil classification
- Short/thick neck
- Acid erosion
Access Free Dental Hygiene CE Courses to Expand Your Dental Sleep Knowledge
Through SomnoMed’s on-demand dental CE courses, hygienists can receive an overview of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), how to screen patients for OSA, the physician partnership in diagnosing, and much more. These courses are web-based and on demand, allowing hygienists to earn up to seven free CE credits toward their annual license renewals. Each webinar is available at no charge to the hygienist or their practice.
Gain immediate access to our multimedia training library where you can learn how to take your GP to a dental sleep practice! Earn self-study Dental Hygiene CE credit by viewing the on-demand webinars at somnomed.com/education. If you would like more resources for your practice, join SomAdvantage for access to exclusive free training and resources for building your sleep practice.