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Sleep disorders are becoming more prevalent due to an increased awareness by both the medical and dental communities and the public. The underlying conditions of sleep related disturbances have been with the patient in many cases for years, but the symptoms and the ability to diagnose these symptoms are becoming more attainable and affordable.
It is important for physicians and dentists to work closely together to form a team to help the millions of patients that suffer from sleep disturbances. Dentistry can be an extremely important portal to screen for sleep due to its ability to observe signs and symptoms of the oral cavity during routine dental prophylaxis appointments. By the same token, it is important to realize that sleep disturbances are a medical condition and only a sleep physician can properly diagnose sleep conditions. The only definitive way to diagnose Sleep disturbances is by either an overnight in lab sleep study called a Polysomnogram (PSG), or a home sleep test. Once a diagnosis is made the sleep physician has the responsibility to recommend what type of treatment is best suited for each individual patient.
These treatments can range from a CPAP machine, Oral Appliance Therapy, surgery, Inspire (Upper Airway Stimulation Therapy), medications, weight loss, smoking and alcohol cessation, nasal decongestants, positional therapy and surgery. Each type of treatment has its own pros and cons and all should be addressed when looking at what would be best for each individual patient.