Kathleen Bennett, DDS, answers several questions from DentistryIQ about the recently released AASM-AADSM joint guidelines.

DIQ: What do general practitioners need to do to prepare for this change in their practices?

Dr. Bennett: This guideline was not developed to change practices, but to help everyone benefit from the best practices being used in the field today. The guideline is a great resource for both dentists interested in integrating dental sleep medicine into their practice, as well as general dentists and physicians who may encounter questions about snoring, sleep apnea, or oral appliance therapy during routine patient visits.

For the general dental and medical practitioners, the guideline is an educational resource to help them provide patients with a more thorough overview of treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea. With its insights, they can better set the patient’s expectation of what type of treatments may be prescribed and the steps in obtaining optimal care.

For dentists who are just getting into dental sleep medicine, the guideline offers more of a step-by-step plan to aid their patient treatment approach. It instructs that after a physician has diagnosed a patient with sleep apnea and prescribed oral appliance therapy, the dentist should consider a custom, titratable oral appliance, conduct patient followup to survey for and reduce dental-related side effects, and refer patients back to sleep physicians for periodic office visits.

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