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By Charles Kravitz, DDS
 
Every dentist wants to develop a strong presence in the exciting and profitable world of Dental Sleep Medicine. We have all heard the stories of phenomenal success some dentists have in treating patients for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
 
This article will provide you with the solutions to your questions and get you excited about incorporating Dental Sleep Medicine (DSM).into your Dental Practice.
 
 “How Will Benefit by DSM in my Dental Practice?”
     This is a huge winner for your practice, for you, for your team, and for your patients.
 
    A.  The Benefits for you and your Dental Practice
              1.  Acquire New Patients- lots of them.
 
You will be sought for your unique professional dental service. Awareness of sleep apnea in America is at an all-time peak. The fires of awareness are being stoked by the public media and by social media. Patients are understanding and becoming increasingly more concerned about the blockage of oxygen to their brains and to other organs. Strokes. Heart attacks. Diabetes. Dementia. People are recognizing that they have the symptoms and are asking their Dentists about it. 
 
When people learn that you are “The Sleep Dentist” or “The Snore Clinic”, and you can help them, they will call you. “Build a field and they will come.”( from Field of Dreams.)Your New Patient flow will increase.
 
            2.  Greatly Increased Income
 
With the new patients come new needed services. People who are health conscious and are concerned about their sleep disorder will be equally concerned about their oral health. You will enjoy new opportunities to help your new patients.
 
We know that this dental practice “niche” has quickly evolved into a full time “specialty” for energetic, dedicated dentists. The revenues generated from sleep services are impressive.
 
            3. A Unique Life-saving Service
 
I’m sure you understand that now, more than ever, you need to stand out and be able to offer not only EXCELLENCE, but also DIFFERENCE.  In this sluggish economy, where there is a perception of “financial doom”, (I personally don’t believe in that.), dental consumers have a tight hold on their wallets, and reports of dental service acceptance show a concerning drop. With DSM you will offer a unique dental/medical service.
What are YOU doing now to offer a unique service? Your First Class Service and Patient Engagement are expected as basic “givens”.  But what is your niche ? Are YOU the dental practice they must go to? 
 
            4. Serve an Underserved Need
 
According to a Harvard health report there are 18.9 million undiagnosed cases of obstructive sleep apnea and 40% (1.3 million) of CPAP users are non-compliant. So that alone conservatively projects 20.2 million victims of obstructive sleep apnea who may be helped by a dentist trained in Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT). 
 
            5. Significance
 
One of the basic human needs is to feel significant. It is a personal reward we can give ourselves. We dentists enjoy a lifetime of helping our patients. Caring for people is one of the driving forces that made us choose this career. It makes us feel good to know we are helping people to avoid pain, eat healthier, and feel more confident about their appearance. That is all great. But how does it compare to the feeling of saving a patient’s life? When you know you have taken patients who spend half their night’s sleep without oxygen going through their airway and to their brain- and you have corrected their life threatening disease, how does that make you feel? Significant! You will be seen as a hero.
 
    B.  The Benefits to Your Dental Team
 
Every member of your team plays an important role in the Dental Sleep Medicine service and they will enjoy the following benefits: 
 
            1. Professional Pride, Prestige 
 
All team members will know, as you know, that they are steps above the dental community in truly providing comprehensive health care. 
 
 
            2. Providing a Needed Service
Studies show that 34 percent of the American public have symptoms of sleep disorder. That means that one of every three people that you currently treat and of those that are new patients, are there for you to help them.
Your team members will be perfectly positioned to help their family, neighbors, and new friends.
According to a Harvard health report there are 18.9 million undiagnosed cases of obstructive sleep apnea. 
            3.  Rewards  
On top of the emotional rewards that your team members receive, they are contributing to the financial success of your practice. DSM is over 80 percent staff driven and you may feel they deserve to share rewards with you. 
            4.  Job Security  
DSM in a practice can build quickly and strong.Your employees make valuable contributions to its success and have the good feeling of being needed. By the same token, you will know that they are critical to your success and would not want to lose them. 
            5.  Feeling of Significance 
Like you, your employees enjoy the feeling of “making a difference”. Everyone needs to feel significant. It is a personal reward we can give ourselves. Caring for people is one of the driving forces that made your staff want to be a dental professional.  When they know they have taken patients who spend half their night’s sleep without oxygen going through their airway and to their brain- and they have contributed to correcting their life threatening disease, how does that make them feel? Significant! They will be seen as heros.
    C.  Benefits for Your Patients
              1. Your patients will now have a convenient and caring source (you) that can discover and treat that serious disease- Obstructive Sleep Apnea- that wakes them up all through the night and diminishes their quality of living.
            2.  They will understand that trained dental professionals are the best source for discovery of  Obstructive Sleep Apnea. They will spread the word – referrals.
            3. They will know their dentist will be able to offer them the most comfortable and popular treatment for OSA- the Oral Appliance Therapy. (OAT). 
              4. They will be delighted that Medicare and their private insurance, in most cases, will pay for the OAT. 
              5. Your patients will sleep better, feel better, be healthier and live longer. 
 
Contact me to learn more: cskdoc@aol.com
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You are in an excellent position to screen for sleep apnea and to help identify your undiagnosed (and therefore, untreated) OSA patients.

How can you miss these clinical signs?

You…..

• have direct observational access to the physiological structures of your patients’ upper airways

• are already screening chair side for other health conditions that can be easily spotted during a dental visit

• may see these patients more frequently than primary care physicians will, with nearly one quarter more likely to see a dentist than a physician over any given time period. 

Your field of operations is right next to the opening of the airway.

Clinical signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
~constricted airway – measured by a Mallampati score *
~ large neck circumference

          Over 15 inches in women
          Over 16 inches in men
  
~ oversized and/or inflamed uvula
~ extra large tongue
~ scalloped tongue edges-caused by tongue forced against the teeth, gasping for breath.
~ enlarged tonsils     
~ a droopy soft palate
 ~ retrognathic mandibular jaw.
~ obesity
~ heavy or struggled breathing
~ bruxism
~ obvious lack of energy
~ lack of focus in children causing ADHD -in 20% of ADHD victims.
~ sleepiness during dental appointment.
                                                                                                   *MALLAMPATI CLASSIFICATION

   Want more information, email me cskdoc@aol.com.

Retired? Or just tired?

 Looking for something more exciting to top off your dental career?
A dentist who is selling a practice and those who are worn out from years of intense dedication to detail are looking for alternatives. They want to hang up the loupes but are wondering what to do next.

After a long productive career of interacting with people in need, it is difficult to go “cold turkey”, even if golf is a passion.

There is a great solution awaiting you.

The laborious, long, stressful day in the operatory can be replaced with a very productive, rewarding, stress-free patient service.   You can choose how many days you want to work, where you want to provide the service and what kind of patients you want to see. And your rewards, both financial and emotional, will be greater than ever.

Dental Sleep Medicine!

 Treating patients for sleep breathing disorders is an excellent way to continue your public service and receive even greater income in shorter hours than practicing general dentistry. Practicing DSM can be the apex of your public service career. Nothing in dentistry can compare to the ROI you will receive.

You may contact me cskdoc@aol.com for further information.

Here are some of the benefits (not in any order of importance):

  1. Acquire New Patients- lots of them.

People are recognizing that they have sleep breathing symptoms and are searching for Dentists who can help them.

  1. Serve an Underserved Need

    According to a Harvard health report there are 18.9 million undiagnosed cases of obstructive sleep apnea and 40% (1.3 million) of CPAP users are non-compliant.

  1. Increased Income

You have heard the reports about the huge successes with DSM. With the new DSM patients come other needed services.

  1. Professional Pride, Prestige and
  2. The feeling of significance

One of the basic human needs is to feel significant. It is a personal reward we can give ourselves. We dental professionals enjoy a lifetime of helping our patients. Caring for people is one of the driving forces that made us choose this career. It makes us feel good to know we are helping people to avoid pain, eat healthier, and feel more confident about their appearance. That is all great. But how does it compare to the feeling of saving a patient’s life? When you know you have taken patients who spend half their night’s sleep without oxygen going through their airway and to their brain- and you have corrected their life-threatening disease, how does that make you feel? Significant! You will feel like a hero.

How do you get started?

If you are interested enough to have read this far, you have already started. To succeed in DSM you must have passion to continuing helping people and excitement for being at the forefront of a new medical/dental science. With only 4% of dental practices qualified to offer these services, you can be proud to be a medical/dental pioneer.

The introduction for your education is to attend a DSM training seminar. There you will learn all the basics. Sleep Group Solutions presents two-day seminars every weekend in two different cities. The “Introduction to Dental Sleep Medicine” covers all aspects “from A to Pay”. You will learn the mysteries of the science of sleep, a functional protocol for screening and treating patients, how to find patients who need your services, the various intra-oral appliances and how to monitor their efficacy, and billing benefits with medical codes.

Send your questions to me at cskdoc@aol.com.

We know we have received great benefits from our dental and hygiene careers. We built social, emotional and economic strength for ourselves through our hard and smart work. Now we can “pay it forward” Share your tips, ideas, advice with the dental community on the LinkedIn DENTAL MENTORS network.  https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4746892  
Every one of us is an expert in some area(s) that can help others. Join this non-promotional group and have that good feeling about mentoring others.