The 86-year-old was treated and released from the Aventura Hospital and Medical Center. Dr. Barry Freydberg, a Dental Sleep Medicine expert, and lecturer for Sleep Group Solutions, screens and treats patients for snoring and sleep apnea says, “I am glad to hear his sleep apnea was treated, Nearly 18 million people remain undiagnosed with sleep apnea.”
It was only three years ago that I read that less than 1% of American licensed dentists were practicing sleep medicine. In those few years that number has risen to 4%. If we have approximately 205,000 practicing dentists in the USA, then there are only 8200 Dentists serving the needs of the multitude of people affected with sleep disorders.According to a Harvard health report there are 18.9 million undiagnosed cases of obstructive sleep apnea and a minimum of 40% – 1.3 million -of CPAP users who are non-compliant. So that alone conservatively projects 20.2 million victims of obstructive sleep apnea who may be helped by a dentist trained in oral appliance therapy (OAT).
Dental sleep medicine: the hottest button in dentistry today.
Awareness of sleep apnea in America is at an all-time peak. The fires of awareness are being stoked by the public media and by social media. Patients are understanding and becoming increasingly more concerned about the blockage of oxygen to the brain and to other organs. Strokes. Heart attacks. Diabetes. Dementia. Motor vehicle accidents. People are recognizing that they have the symptoms and are asking their Dentists about it. Some doctors have the solutions. Every Dentist would like to be “The Sleep Dentist.”Seminar training courses are now available through Sleep Group Solutions every week, in different cities, throughout the United States. They are training dentists to discover the victims of sleep apnea and to treat them with the most appropriate modalities. Oral appliance therapy (OAT) is the most convenient and preferred therapy for the mild and moderate cases and for those patients who cannot tolerate the CPAP device. Fortunately, this is where the dentist in shining armor rides in on a white horse to the rescue. Dentists, we like to say, are on the front line of the battle against sleep apnea. Dentists are in the optimum position to see the signs and symptoms and can offer the most preferred solutions to the problem.
The undiagnosed may fit into these categories:
1. Patients have no idea that such a thing as Sleep Apnea exists.
2. They know about, but have no idea that they suffer from, Sleep Apnea .
3. They know they have the symptoms of Sleep Apnea but are in denial.
4. They know they have problems but refuse to do anything about it.
It is very difficult to get these people to want to be screened and diagnosed by just telling them that something is wrong. It is necessary for them to “see” it for themselves and for them to adopt a top down approach – of their own volition.The best way to do this is to educate them in the most simple, effective, non intimidating and cost effective way – we can show them films of OSA victims having sleep events. We must find a way to get them diagnosed and filmed and then show them their results. This is an massive education deficit issue.
American Sleep Apnea Association http://www.sleepapnea.org/i-am-a-health-care-professional.html
Indy Star, Lauran Neergaard, http://www.indystar.com/articles/9/186972-5719-052.html
Detroit Free Press, Bill Dow, http://www.freep.com/news/health/sleep2e_20041102.htm
This may be used as patient education in your web site or as a hand-out.
Sleep Group Solutions