Editor’s intro: When approaching the New Year, be ready to grow your practice through options for dental sleep medicine. Glennine Varga offers tips on how to proceed.
Are you ready? As we approach 2020 there are many things I’m excited about that will bring awareness to your dental sleep medicine practices across the US. New technology, public awareness and collaboration all will play a role in patients asking dentists about sleep breathing and optimal airway health. Again I ask, are you ready?
For over 20 years I’ve witnessed the dental profession identify how dental professionals can make an impact on airway health. In the past two years, the volume has increased tremendously. More and more patients are asking about it, physicians are reaching out to dentists asking if they can help, companies and corporations are creating products and services specifically for our industry. Let’s dive into these things I’m excited about and identify how team can get involved.
I have had the honor of working with hundreds of dental offices that are incorporating sleep breathing disorders into their practices. Most will ask which software should I get? My answer is to check them all out! What it comes down to is how well the system works in your hands. It’s like your phone – you’ve got to know how to work it because you will be using it daily. I’m excited for the new system MD Fusion and Lyon Dental. They offer a cloud-based documentation system and medical billing services. Like Dental Sleep Solutions (DS3), the system was created by a practicing and board-certified DSM dentist. My go-to is DentalWriter – I’m biased because I used it in practice and trained on it for 10 years. Also, I love the team. They are very informative – Rose Nierman does a great job of keeping everyone up to date on the changing landscape of DSM.
Rhinomanometer by BioResearch is not new technology. BioResearch, a 50 plus year old company in Milwaukee, is introducing this technology to the dental field for the first time. Many DSM dentists have heard of rhinometry which is acoustic measurements of the nose. Rhinomanometry is different as it measures nasal airflow, which allows dentists and team to evaluate if flow limitation plays a role which may require a referral to an otolaryngologist or incorporating nasal dilators like MaxAir Nose Cones or Mute. People with a nasal flow limitation adapt to it as do our structures and systems. When this phenomenon is identified and corrected, we rejoice because when nasal flow increases it makes us very happy. If this can be identified in a growing child, the structure can be influenced in several ways to improve the airway. Treating adult patients with oral appliances should always be a wonderful service to provide. Identifying problems in children can improve their sleep, cognition, mood, health, social interaction and dental health. WOW what a great profession to be in! I’m so excited for our future!
Collaboration of professions and public awareness is starting to increase. The time is here for physicians and dentists to work more closely to identify and increase airway possibilities for patients. October 2, 2019, (O2) was the inaugural Global Airway Health Day! Start preparing your efforts early for 2020, celebrate it and have fun doing it. I envision pajamas, buttons, signs and eye masks – anything to bring awareness to this great day! Visit https://airwayhealth.org for more information. Also, there are many organizations offering CE in sleep breathing, airway or OSA. Plan out your year of CE! I’m excited about Pankey Institute’s Advanced Airway course, the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine’s (AADSM) Business of DSM course and the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Children’s Airway Conference.
Your next team meeting can include the following action items:
- Evaluate your office and the use or non-use of technology. If you already have technology, refresh yourself with the training and ways to introduce it to your patients. If you do not, check out ways to evaluate nasal flow as well as screening for sleep breathing disorders.
- Check out ancillary items such as nose cones, white noise apps, and humidifiers. As public awareness increases you want your patients to know you offer airway therapies. Pick up some ancillary items to accompany your oral appliance therapy or simply display information regarding them.
- Plan Global Airway Health Day 2020. Start your airway awareness campaign now and keep it going all year round. Yes, there is a day for it, but it should be celebrated every day or at least discussed with your patients. Everyone breathes every day, right?
- Take time for Continuing Education. It’s always good to get educated. The more you are exposed to airway topics the better you will be able to spread the word throughout your office. Not to mention CE trips should be fun and a great time to bond as a team!
I’m confident our patients are in great hands and I’m happy this industry is growing and will continue to improve on patient’s ability to get a good night’s sleep and improved overall health and wellness. Thank you to DSP and Dr. Steve Carstensen for your combined efforts over the past 5 years of great editorial content!