Improving Communication and Collaboration Between Physicians and Dentists

By July 11, 2016October 13th, 2017Dental Sleep Management, Dentists, Physicians
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Improving Communication and Collaboration Between Physicians and Dentists

Physicians and dentists both want the best for their patients. When it comes to oral appliance treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), that means collaborating on treatment options across disciplines.

In this video, Dr. Jagdeep Bijwadia, MD discusses some of the barriers that can make cross-discipline communication difficult, solutions to these difficulties, and the many benefits derived when physicians and dentists work together for the health of their patient.

When looking for a partner in treating patients, physicians are generally looking for three things:

  • A dentist partner who demonstrates a high level of commitment to the field with ongoing training and knowledge about sleep medicine.
  • A clinician who communicates well and works collaboratively throughout the treatment process, especially ensuring that the patient will follow up with the physician after the dental titration has been completed.3.
  • Dentists who accept medical insurance and, preferably, are in-network with the same insurance plans as physicians.

Some of the benefits of physician-dentist collaboration include:

  • Smoother transition for the patient
  • Treatment clarity
  • Successful long-term monitoring
  • Improved patient compliance
  • Greater control over treatment planning for both physicians and dentists


In short, when physicians and dentists work as a team in the use of oral appliances for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, a better experience is created for everyone involved. This includes the physician, the dentist, and the patient.

Dr. Bijwadia is SomnoMed Inc.’s Chief Medical Officer. In addition to working with SomnoMed Inc. to ensure the highest quality care for patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), Dr. Bijwadia is a practicing Pulmonologist operating out of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Dr. Bijwadia lays out a plan for physicians and dentists to work as a team. He also addresses some of the obstacles that are faced when trying to make this happen – including being in different offices and having separate patient records.

Dr. Bijwadia suggests that physicians and dentists who plan to work together ideally meet in-person. If that’s not possible or practical, a phone call is another good option.

During their discussions, physicians and dentists can review the clinical protocols they’ll both observe during Continuous Open Airway Treatment (COAT). This will allow the physician to then communicate to the patient exactly what they can expect when they schedule their appointment with their dentist.

All three parties can then work together to monitor treatment as it progresses not only in the short term, but for years to come. The result is better compliance and better health outcomes for the patient with obstructive sleep apnea.

For more information about SomnoMed and oral appliance therapy, visit



Dr. Jagdeep Bijwadia is the Chief Medical Officer at SomnoMed. He has an active Sleep and Pulmonary practice at the HealthPartners Medical Group in Saint Paul, MN and is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the University of Minnesota. He served as Department Head for the Pulmonary and Sleep group and Director of Sleep Medicine at HealthPartners Medical Group from 2006 to 2013, and was Director of the Sleep Program at the University of Minnesota from the 2006 to 2012.

He completed residency in Internal Medicine at Nassau University Medical Center, NY and fellowship training in Pulmonary and Critical Care at University of Southern California. Board certified in Sleep Medicine since 2000, he is a faculty member in the Sleep fellowship program at the University of MN, actively participating in both teaching and research. Dr. Bijwadia has a strong background and experience as a physician leader and is a certified Health Insurance Executive through the Kellogg School of business and the American Health Insurance Plan, and is currently completing an executive MBA at the University of St Thomas in Minneapolis. He is also President Elect of the Minnesota Sleep Society.


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