It is no secret that dental sleep medicine and sleep apnea awareness continues to grow, with a host of news media and major online websites granting sleep disorders a significant amount of media coverage. From editorials, ed-op’s, physician and dentist blogs to major celebrities such as Dr. Oz and Ariana Huffington discussing Sleep issues with their audiences. Even public awareness events have taken an enormous leap from 5-20 persons in a hotel meeting room to the largest sleep apnea awareness event this year in Phoenix, AZ hosted by David Gergen and the ProPlayer Health Alliance “PPHA”. The event was hosted by the PPHA, Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Police Dept and the American Sleep and Breathing Academy (ASBA) and received over 3,000 attendees.
As the dental sleep field continues to grow through research and technological advances, pioneers of sleep medicine continue to uncover innovative breakthroughs that give practitioners more options to treat the large numbers of people suffering from sleeping disorders. Alternative treatment options, multiple avenues for diagnosis and efficacy monitoring, all improve the probability of a successful treatment along with excellent training and education of the physician and dentist.
The American Sleep and Breathing Academy’s protocol, contrary to AADSM recommendations, continues to involve the most cutting edge procedures and techniques including the use of home sleep testing. Advantages include accessibility, affordability and the convenience of patients sleeping at their own home during testing. “This is why we not only encourage home sleep testing but deem it as a necessary tool that should be considered for screening, diagnosis and titration” said Rudi Ferrate MD.
At the annual Dental meeting in June, it was stated during a key presentation that oral appliance therapy (OAT) is less effective than CPAP and that there is no data reporting on home sleep testing done by dentists that improves the success of OAT; on the other hand, also pointed out in the same presentation, polysomnography increased success rates by 25%. So the question might be phrased as to why dentists and home sleep testing companies are not receiving sufficient support from an academy that doesn’t seem committed to dentists who utilize home sleep testing for their patients? The ASBA believes all avenues of treatment must be considered and every tool available must be used for a higher success rate to be achieved.
Added Ferrate, “I’m actually surprised by the recommendations as I’ve found home sleep testing to be quite beneficial for the patient, the Doctor, our sleep medicine industry, including my own area of practice. Is it always the best route to go? No, obviously every case is different. But for them dismiss dentists who seek more expertise and knowledge with home sleep testing isn’t encouraging. I found it counter-productive, which is a reason I support the ASBA who work to integrate dentistry and medicine to treat their sleep patients”.