The American Dental Association adopts policy on dentistry and sleep related breathing disorders

The American Dental Association adopts new policy on dentistry and its role in the treatment of sleep related breathing disorders

Sleep apnea dentist in Woodinville WA area

In October 2017, the American Dental Association (ADA), the nation’s leading association of dental professionals, adopted a new policy position on the role of dentistry in the treatment of sleep related breathing disorders. Along with its 2015 “Evidence Brief: Oral Appliances for Sleep Related Breathing Disorders,” this new document offers the ADA’s opinion of the value of the treatment dentists can offer for common problems such as sleep apnea.

As a sleep apnea dentist in Woodinville WA area, Dr. Mulliken is glad to see that the ADA has examined the scientific evidence on this issue. He believes that it’s important to let people know about the importance of diagnosing and treating sleep apnea. Further, he believes that everyone should know about their range of treatment options. This helps to prevent people from suffering unnecessarily.

The ADA affirms the crucial role of dentists in treating sleep apnea

In its 2017 position statement, the ADA states that “dentists can and do play an essential role” in the care of patients with obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep-related breathing disorders. The ADA recommends that dentists evaluate their patients for possible signs of sleep apnea, both by screening for symptoms (such as excessive sleepiness) and by examining for signs of an airway that may be easily compromised (such as a small lower jaw). Because a dentist’s role is to maintain or improve oral health, the dentist is in a unique position to perform this evaluation.

The ADA goes on to recommend that if a dentist suspects that a patient has sleep apnea, then the patient should be referred to a physician to make the diagnosis. (A sleep study is required to diagnose sleep apnea; this may be a laboratory sleep study, or a home sleep study.) The dentist may also be involved in the treatment of sleep apnea, if it is diagnosed. Though some patients may choose CPAP (a machine that blows air into your face at night to keep your airway open), others prefer oral device therapy. The ADA has previously addressed the issue of dentists and oral devices for sleep apnea in its 2015 evidence brief.

The ADA previously affirmed the value of oral devices in sleep apnea treatment

In this evidence brief, the ADA examined the scientific evidence for oral devices in the treatment of sleep related breathing disorders (such as obstructive sleep apnea). The paper states that evidence clearly shows that oral device therapy is effective in mild to moderate sleep apnea. It is also appropriate for severe sleep apnea, for those patients who don’t tolerate CPAP.

The ADA notes that oral device therapy has an effectiveness that is equal to or nearly equal to that of CPAP. Additionally, it is far better tolerated than CPAP. This means that there is a much smaller chance that the patient will stop using the therapy and will go untreated. Patients with CPAP sometimes discontinue their use of the machine. Use of it it can be uncomfortable, and the noise can disturb a spouse or other bed partner. Because oral appliance therapy is more comfortable and convenient, more patients choose to continue using it.

The ADA makes a strong statement that “dentists are the only health care provider with the knowledge and experience to provide oral appliance therapy (OAT).” This doesn’t mean that other health care providers shouldn’t be involved in the diagnosis and management of sleep apnea. However, a dentist is the only one who should be offering oral device therapy to a patient. The report recommends that patients receiving OAT follow up with their dentist at least once per year. This allows the dentist to monitor the patient’s response to treatment and adjust as necessary to achieve the best results.

Sleep apnea dentist in Woodinville area

The ADA is the nation’s leading organization of dentists. Its members spend time and energy studying the scientific literature to make evidence-based recommendations about your care. The ADA has now affirmed the benefits of oral device therapy for sleep apnea. It has also explained the crucial role of dentists in caring for those with this common and damaging disorder. This information could help the millions of Americans with sleep apnea get the treatment they need. Treated patients are likely to feel better and avoid long-term health consequences.

A specialized sleep apnea dentist is your best choice for prescribing an oral device for sleep apnea. There are over 100 oral devices that have been approved by the FDA, and it takes an expert to select the right one for you and to fit it properly. Fortunately for you, if you’re looking for a sleep apnea dentist in Woodinville or the surrounding area, you’ve found Dr. Bill Mulliken. With extensive training in the area of oral device therapy, Dr. Mulliken can ensure that your oral device is custom-designed and well-fitted. You deserve to have your health, your energy, and your life back. Contact our office to schedule your appointment with Dr. Mulliken.

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