New York, NY (Vocus) September 14, 2009
Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are serious medical problems. Obstructive sleep apnea can increase the risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes and other serious illnesses. Increasingly, specially trained dentists are being called upon to provide oral appliance therapy for those patients who cannot tolerate or prefer not to wear a CPAP unit. Choosing a sleep-disorders dentist who is qualified to work with one’s physician is essential to one’s health or the health of a loved one.
“The dentist you choose to treat your problem with sleep disordered breathing must be properly educated and with adequate experience. Legally, any dentist can treat snoring and/or sleep apnea with an oral appliance, however, that does not mean that every dentist has the necessary experience and training to provide proper therapy. As snoring and sleep apnea can be deleterious to your health, it’s imperative that you choose a dentist with the special and necessary qualifications.” says Dr. Laurence Barsh, president and founder of Snoring Isn’t Sexy, LLC. “Dentists cannot legally make the diagnosis of primary snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome or obstructive sleep apnea. This means that the dentist you choose must be able to work closely with your physician to determine an appropriate treatment regimen. Though Snoring Isn’t Sexy, LLC is a commercial directory service; we feel an obligation to those that use our service to provide guidelines for potential patients when selecting a dentist for treatment,” says Barsh.
7 guidelines for selecting a dentist to provide oral appliance therapy
1. Team Approach - A qualified sleep-disorders dentist must be willing and able to work closely with physicians and other health care professionals and have a solid relationship with local sleep labs and sleep physicians. Management by a dentist should always involve interaction and communication with a family physician and sleep specialist as well as a cardiologist, pulmonologist and/or endocrinologist and others if necessary.
2. Continuing Education - A qualified sleep-disorders dentist must have adequate post graduate training and education in sleep medicine, jaw joint function and oral appliance therapy. Oral appliance therapy for snoring and sleep apnea is not yet generally taught in dental schools making it the patient’s responsibility to ask the dentist for proof of adequate professional continuing education courses from reliable, accredited sources.
3. Multiple Appliances - A qualified sleep-disorders dentist must not claim that one appliance can solve all problems. He/she must be able to treat effectively with different appliance types, since no one appliance can solve the problems of each individual patient.
4. Exclusivity - A qualified sleep-disorders dentist must be able to provide scientific research supporting the use of any appliance and its FDA approval, and must not claim that he/she has a “secret” process, or an appliance that he/she has exclusive access to. All effective and FDA approved appliances are available to every dentist, with no restrictions as to their use.
5. Follow-up Care - A qualified sleep-disorders dentist must have a proven recall system to ensure healthy results long-term.
6. Informed Consent - A qualified sleep-disorders dentist must provide a written statement of informed consent that fully explains all possible contraindications and potential side effects. The dentist must ensure that the patient understands all possible side effects and contraindications in addition to the benefits of treatment.
7. Medical Conditions - A qualified sleep-disorders dentist must not represent that oral appliance therapy treat any medical condition unless that claim is based upon published, peer-reviewed, scientific research. Oral appliance therapy is not always the most beneficial treatment and the dentist should suggest alternate therapeutic modalities (CPAP, surgery) when appropriate.
More information about these guidelines is available at Snoring Isn't Sexy Patient Guidelines.
About Snoring Isn't Sexy, LLC
Snoring Isn't Sexy, LLC was founded in 2008 by Laurence I. Barsh, DMD, a dentist who has been involved with sleep medicine since 1992 and who now devotes full time to educating the public about dentistry's role and responsibility in the recognition and management of snoring and sleep apnea. Dr. Barsh and the dentists associated with Snoring Isn't Sexy, LLC feel strongly that management of sleep-breathing disorders is a shared responsibility of both the medical and dental professions.
Snoring Isn't Sexy, LLC consists of independently owned and operated affiliated offices. Visit Snoring Isn't Sexy for a directory of all participating dentists.
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