You’ve decided to add sleep dentistry as a segment of your practice services, and completed the first steps by taking the necessary training. Now, you need to start screening your existing patient population for sleep apnea. Screening your dental patients for sleep apnea on a consistent basis is the primary starting point, but it’s a task that you and your entire office have to be on the same page about, especially when it comes to building a base of potential patients. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of best practices and resources for implementing regular screening for sleep apnea in your dental practice.
Best practices for successful sleep apnea screening
1. Staff Training: One of the biggest challenges we see at SomnoMed are dentists who are trained in sleep, and know what to look for in patients – but their staff is not involved and they do not know what to look for. It’s important to ensure that your staff is trained on sleep so that they are able to make your patient screening process more effective. After you attend training and develop a vision for integrating sleep into your practice, a large portion of your success is dependent on your staff being on board with your vision, and being supportive of that vision.
2. Personal Experience: Going through the process of having a personal device made for both you and your primary assistant helps you and your staff speak from experience. You’re familiar with the comfort and fit of an oral device, simply because you’ve had one. Additionally, walking through the process personally will help key members of the practice know the proper protocol in terms of taking impressions, the bite registration, how long it takes to get the device and how to deliver the device. For more information on how you can obtain a discounted personal device from SomnoMed, enter your information here, and indicate your interest in the ”How Can We Help?” section. One of our team members will contact you shortly thereafter.
3. Screen every patient: Use any screening tool, but still screen every patient. We’ve had the the experience of a practice “judging” a patient and then determining whether they have sleep apnea. You never know who has sleep apnea, as not all patients present with the same indicators or symptoms. Consider making completing a sleep apnea screening an annual part of updating each patients chart.
Resources to help you get started screening
- SomnoMed’s STOP BANG survey
- SomnoMed’s Epworth Sleepiness Survey
- Free CE on dental sleep for your staff members
- Register your staff for SomnoMed’s Level 1 Web-Based Dental Sleep (6 CEs)
Screening your dental patients for sleep apnea can be mastered for successful integration of dental sleep in your practice.
Access dental sleep practice materials to assist you and your team by becoming a SomAdvantage member. SomAdvantage is a resource for dental sleep practitioners and staff members offering access to exclusive training and resources, including a Medical Billing Series and the SMART Practice Series, downloadable marketing materials and more.
SomnoMed is the global leader in COATTM (Continuous Open Airway Therapy), and has innovated OSA treatment options since 2004. Our world class devices are designed with patient comfort as priority, and we are proud to have the best support and service system for our dentists and your patients. Learn more by clicking here, or call 1-888-447-6673.