SomnoMed Academy & Growing Your Dental Practice

SomnoMed Academy is your own online dental sleep education portal for your practice! Below, we explore some initial resources to get you started.


Growing Your Dental Practice

Every dental practice has an abundance of patients who can benefit in some way from dental sleep medicine. Successfully finding and treating these patients takes commitment and persistence on behalf of the entire team – but we promise that it’s well worth the effort!

The role of a dental practitioner is to: 

     • Recognize oral signs and symptoms
     • Identify and screen patients who snore or may suffer from OSA
     • Educate patients on potential sleep-disordered breathing issues
     • Promote potential patients to be tested (PSG/HST)
     • Provide alternate treatment to CPAP and surgery
     • Selection, fitting adjustments, and follow-up care of SomnoDent oral devices
     • Be a part of the treatment team along with physicians, dedicated to improving the patient’s quality of life through better sleep

In addition to important intel, as a member of SomnoMed Academy, you will also receive detailed oral device information, advice on how to place and order for your first case, compelling and useful marketing materials, and more! 

So – what are some useful tips to begin?

Tips From SomnoMed Academy 

Tip #1 – Education

The first thing we advise that interested dentists should do is educate themselves and their staff on the practice and particulars of dental sleep medicine today. We recommend starting with our SomnoMed Academy training pages, as it’s important that your entire dental team is on-boarded and trained in OSA treatment from screening, to medical billing, to sleep testing.

To ensure your staff and your practice is successful throughout the entire OSA treatment process, be a firm believer in confidently and repeatedly sharing the “why” behind what you do with your team. Don’t just declare that your practice is going to “do” sleep appliances, then expect everyone to be on board. Instead, educate the team on how exciting this field is, and how much real impact they can have on their patient’s lives.

Another way to address your patients’ concerns confidently and accurately regarding comfort and fit of any SomnoDent oral device? Wear one for yourself! The first-hand knowledge obtained in wearing a SomnoDent will help you overcome your concerns, answer your patient’s questions with confidence, and strengthen the trust between you and your patients.

Tip #2 – Connect With Physicians

Sleep physicians want to work with dentists who are educated about OSA and who understand the value of teamwork – both inside and outside their practice.  Some physicians struggle to find a local dentist who is qualified in the comprehensive treatment of OSA. To be a successful dental sleep medicine practitioner, you must network and ensure that your skills are known within the medical community. Ultimately – for the best medical interests of patients – the dental sleep medicine model relies on a collaborative, referral-based relationship between a sleep physician and a dentist. This relationship involves collaboration from the start, so that patients understand the process for diagnosis, treatment options, and the roles of their care providers. 

As a dentist, you can screen patients for OSA, but unfortunately, you are unable to diagnose, as the diagnosis must come from a board-certified physician. Additionally, a physician is unable to fabricate, titrate, and fit a patient with an oral appliance. Therefore, it is crucial to establish a strong physician partnership.

Dentists who file and accept medical insurance claims including Medicare are preferred by physicians. Not accepting medical insurance can deter physicians from sending referrals!

As more physicians become aware of your knowledge, resources, and collaborative efforts, it will become easier to initiate and persuade them to send new referrals to your practice.  However, once you foster more referrals from physicians, you will have to ensure that your staff is properly trained for sleep protocols within your dental practice.

It’s our Medical Initiative to work collaboratively with dentists and physicians in pursuit of a common, universal commitment: to treat more OSA patients, more effectively. Join us in this commitment here:

Tip #3 – Screen Your Patients

Within your dental practice, dental teams can begin to integrate dental sleep therapies by starting sleep-focused conversations with patients. It’s amazing how adding the question, “Do you, or anyone in your family, snore?” to the standard medical questionnaire can help uncover a huge population in need of care! Asking a simple question can open the door to this rapidly growing field.

The best way to find your undiagnosed patients is by conducting a survey of your patient base. You can do this by providing an OSA screening tool such as the STOP Bang or Epworth Sleepiness surveys.

Screening your dental patients for sleep apnea on a consistent basis is a great primary starting point, but it is 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. From our experience, the best results come from practices who have trained their staff, gained personal experience by having a device of their own, and who screen each patient that comes into their practice.

Tip #4 – Utilize Your Hygienists

Hygienists have an extremely important role in the dental sleep practice. As they are responsible for performing a review of the patient’s medical and dental history at each appointment, they are provided with ample opportunity to screen them for sleep apnea. The screening can be as simple as reviewing questions like:

  • Have you ever been diagnosed with a Sleep Breathing Disorder?
  • Have you ever had a Sleep Study?
  • Have you ever been told you snore?
  • Do you ever have morning headaches?
  • Are you sleepy in the daytime?
  • Have you ever been told you stop breathing in your sleep?
  • Have you ever woken to gasping or choking?

If the patient answers “yes” to any of the above questions, the hygienist should further investigate and make the dentist aware of any findings that may indicate the need for a sleep study or oral appliance therapy.

Proceed with an anatomical screening, a.k.a. physical traits in the oral cavity contributing to an OSA diagnosis. Click here for a Dental Sleep Screening Tool.

Tip # 5 – Appease Skeptical Patients

If you have a patient who is skeptical of oral appliance therapy or is not able to invest in treatment quite yet, consider using the SomnoDent Alpha. The SomnoDent Alpha is a transitional, 90-day appliance that allows your patient to begin sleeping better immediately.  The Alpha can be introduced and delivered during a routine exam before your patient receives a custom-made SomnoDent oral appliance, and only takes 15 minutes to be fitted by a trained healthcare professional.

Tip #6 – Advertise

Advertising is a powerful way to get patients to know that you offer sleep apnea oral appliances! Here’s how you can get started:

  • Brand your Dental Sleep Practice*
    • If you offer oral appliances for sleep apnea, mention that in your advertising materials
  • Include dental sleep on signage, business cards, and stationery
  • Print advertising
  • Website development
  • Health Fairs – including special offers
  • Access the Practice Resources section for posters, brochures and pictures of SomnoDent devices (Click here for Practice Resources.)

Looking for some demos for your practice? Contact your Account Manager – we’ve got you covered.

Get Started

If any of the above piques your interest – and you’re ready to start growing your practice with dental sleep medicine – register for SomnoMed Academy today! Start receiving free lessons and notifications of upcoming courses and events straight to your inbox.

Have questions? Contact us at + 888-447-6673 or write to us here:

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