In his book “The World is Flat” Thomas Friedman notes that “Analysts have always tended to measure a society (substitute “Dental Sleep Medicine Profession”) by classic economic and social statistics. Such statistics are important and revealing. Friedman prefers to ask a more telling question; “Does this society or profession have more memories or dreams?” If memories prevail and we speak of the ‘good old days,’ the profession or society is dying. If there are more dreams than memories, the future is bright. In the case of Dental Sleep Medicine, the future looks so bright you ought to wear shades. Digital technology, faster turnaround times, doctor preferences, designs, rapidly evolving physicians’ acceptance, insurance reimbursement drivers and broader patient awareness and education about OSA provide us a clean canvas we can paint our future on.
Go Digital or Go Home!
Dental digital technological developments are improving the consistency, fit and efficacy of oral appliance therapy. The ProSomnus Sleep Technology CAD-CAM process provides several advantages that next generation appliances enjoy. Precision medicine allows a patient-centric approach rather than hoping the they can conform to what the lab can make. Physicians and other providers in this arena have found comfort in the reduction of side effects and complications as well.
With in-lab times of seven days, we can get patients into treatment faster. The digital designs allow manufacturers to customize doctor preferences and deliver them consistently. Changes in fin angle, titration schedule, retention and more can be stored in a doctor’s design file and replicated perfectly. Details can include: desired mm length of titration, verification of protrusive setting, 1mm, 0.5mm or less incremental adjustment, anterior opening, discluders and more. The bio-compatibility of milled and printed appliances is second to none. Just as traditional dental labs have created the digital highway for CAD CAM production, so too have select medical device manufacturers embraced this exciting pathway. Although the majority of impressions received today are analog, the ratio is changing rapidly as dentists adopt intraoral scanning. The accuracy, fit, storage and reproducibility translate to less tooth movement and a more stable dentition. Clinicians report that the lingualess design and thinner materials have resulted in less mandibular advancement to achieve clinical success. Bright future indeed.
Patient Centric Treatment
The barriers are crumbling as study after study demonstrates the efficacy of OAT. The medical profession is realizing that patient comfort and compliance are important considerations in designing effective treatments. Insurance companies are starting to realize that OAT lowers short and long term expense. The cost to third parties to treat the massive comorbidities of OSA translates into lower reimbursements and higher premiums. 100% effectiveness, 40% of the time, the score for PAP therapy, is not an acceptable patient outcome. The large and growing percentage of the population that has OSA and remains undiagnosed and untreated, providing a fertile health care field for dentists and physicians alike. Some companies have chosen a direct care path developing treatment centers and eliminating the general dentist population. Others support both CPAP and OAT with their product offerings. ProSomnus Sleep Technologies is dedicated to helping more dentists get more patients into treatment faster and more efficiently.
As a profession, we will need as many advantages as possible. The recent FDA approval and addition of compliance chip technology to our appliances allows pilots, truck drivers, servicemen and dozens of other sleep critical professions to confirm they are following guidelines and treatment recommendations. PAP devices work well when the patient wears them. Recent studies suggest that five nights a week and four hours per night do not have the intended outcomes. Evolving applications, new technologies and innovative designs will help more doctors treat the growing number of OSA patients. “Dental” achievements, such as a healthy periodontium, with excellent implant restorations and naturally esthetic porcelain, are trumped by improper airway management. We stand on the front lines as systemic health issues, dentistry and precision medicine come together. A long time ago, dentistry learned to quit extracting teeth and battled decay instead. We then grew to understand that losing well-restored teeth to bone loss was not productive. More recently, we have become adept at managing the forces of occlusion. Today, an airway centric approach is guiding the medical decisions of general practitioners, orthodontists and oral surgeons. As my good friend, Dr. Michael Gelb, says, “Airway trumps everything.” We can go 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, but only 3 minutes without air. 24 hours without sleep has the same effect as being drunk. Multiple nights with poor sleep have physiologic consequences throughout the body.
The Dream Team
Having a great appliance, advancing the mandible predictably, patient comfort and fast turnaround are table stakes to get into the game of medical device manufacturing today. Digital platforms have a distinct advantage over analog today. We will see an increase in digital solutions, platforms, manufacturers and appliances. Dentistry has and will always be about the people: You, your team, the patients and the various vendors, lab and medical device manufacturers you partner with. At ProSomnus Sleep Technologies, we design devices that make it easier for dentists to optimize health outcomes for patients. It is more than just AHI. It is more than just being easy for the dentist to use. It is about making a device that patients will use. It is about ease of use. It is about convenience. Success in the patient’s hands and in your practice. A real partnership.
part-ner; noun. a person who takes part in an undertaking with another or others, especially in a business or company with shared risks and profits.
Interesting definition indeed. Shared risks and profits is something that often doesn’t show up in every partnership. Vendor partners should be involved in helping you in many ways: Providing patient education materials and opportunities, Shortening treatment time, Team training about sleep, Customized appliance manufacturing, Shared financial success and Volume rebates. At ProSomnus Sleep Technologies we have assembled top drawer leaders in design, manufacturing and education in dental sleep medicine. With an Engineer, a Material Science PhD, a Dentist with over 25 years experience in sleep, a Marketing and Education Director who is second to none, a CEO with incredible leadership and passion, and several technical support, sales, manufacturing and fulfillment people, we indeed have the Dream Team.
dream team; noun. a team or group whose members are among the most qualified or talented in their fields.
At ProSomnus, we have a diverse group of highly skilled people, dedicated to your success and the fulfillment of this preferred future vision for dental sleep medicine. Every patient encounter, even routine dental care, should be examined with airway centric eyes and treatment plans. If you have been frustrated with a ‘one design fits all’ approach, delayed patient treatment or unresponsive device manufacturers, reach out to ProSomnus. The Future is Bright.