Is this a good SomnoDent case? If you have integrated SomnoDent into your practice or considering doing so you may be asking this very question more and more often.
If you’re not asking this question, maybe you should be. Fact is, 1 in 5 adults has mild OSA1. It is suspected that many more go undiagnosed or worse, untreated.
What to do?
Well, first of all seeing is believing. Be proactive and start screening and taking diagnostics photos on all patients, especially during hygiene cleanings you should be showing the effects of untreated snoring and/or OSA. Sleep apnea symptoms and signs are not hard to find orally. From TMJ/TMD issues to oropharyngeal width to swollen uvula to postural evaluations with neck mobility, it’s all there. In short, don’t be afraid to ask about your patients overall health and quality of sleep.
Studies show that 25% of middle-ages men suffer from mild obstructive sleep apnea2. If you see 1,00 patients and 400 are men – that’s 96 potential patients. These are often cases that are looked past, “watched” or worse, ignored. These are ideal SomnoDent cases to treat with a high rate of profitability with fantastic results and very happy patients (and patient spouses).
Second, education is key. There are a number of reasons why patients don’t accept treatment but no reason more important than patients not understanding the treatment, the treatment plan or process, or more importantly, the consequences of going untreated. In fact, we’ve heard of many patients forgoing treatment because they simply do not understand the treatment being proposed and the significant impact it can have on their overall health and wellness. For that reason, clearly explaining the clinical and financial consequences of delayed treatment is proven to be the most effective way to education your patients and ultimately convert patients to treatment.
Third, stop recommending treatment! Following a clinical diagnosis by a licensed physician, prescribe COAT™ (Continuous Open Airway Therapy) treatment! OSA is a life-long disease. A recommendation is perceived as optional by patients and without urgency, patients are much less likely to accept treatment. All treatment should be prescribed not recommended. Change this vernacular in your practice, change the way you approach dental sleep medicine, and then you will change the perceptions that patients have of dentistry while creating value of the treatments you can offer.
In summary, actively take photos of your patients and show them that they need to have a sleep study to further prove their diagnosis, educate your patients on clinical consequences of delayed treatment and prescribe!
1Young et al. J Am Med Assoc 2004
2 Marshall et al. Sleep 2008