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Adventures in Sleep

Role of the Dentist in Sleep Apnea

Published October 24, 2013 9:21 AM by Penny Mehaffey

I confess I missed a webinar this week on the topic, much to my dismay.  I was atop the beautiful North Carolina mountains visiting my husband's kinfolk.  A girl has to keep her priorities straight after all. 

But, you will recall that earlier in the month said girl hosted a sleep seminar and one of the speakers so happened to be a dentist whose topic was about this very thing.  I found it very interesting, the dentist's role.  It's another tactic to come at sleep apnea.  After all, there are many ways to skin a cat.

For one thing, I would think a dentist would see kids just as frequently as a pediatrician perhaps. And therefore may have more opportunity to diagnose OSA.  As pertains to adults who have been diagnosed but are not convinced they want CPAP, it seems many would  rather do anything  than try it.  I think sometimes just having an oral appliance as an option would be beneficial.  

I know CPAP is the gold standard for treatment but we have to be realistic and know that it's not going to work a 100% of the time.  Our speaker, Dr. David Carter has a large practice and is very passionate about helping people with sleep apnea.  He is dedicated to the process of diagnosis and treatment with whatever therapy works.  He is a CPAP wearer himself!  I think this is what speaks volumes in the industry: A professional who has been there and done that and can tell you from personal experience what  worked and what did not and why.  

I will take in the webinar as soon as it hits the archives ... but isn't this a role for all of us? We must empower our patients with all the options and help them make the best decision for their circumstance.

posted by Penny Mehaffey


I have heard of a special interest group in Sydney of doctors, dentists and a respiratory physio, who works with breathing patterns to reduce the cycle of hypocapnia that precedes an OSA event. It is fantastic like you say to see people looking more broadly at how to help with OSA.

janet rowley, respiratory - physio, Breathing Works October 30, 2013 2:55 AM

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About this Blog

    Adventures in Sleep
    Occupation: Sleep technicians
    Setting: Various sleep facilities
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