Speaker: Dennis R. Bailey, DDS
The dentist is becoming more involved in the recognition and management of patients with a sleep disorder, especially a sleep breathing disorder (snoring and sleep apnea). It is important for the dentist to understand the role they may have as part of the over-all health care team. The first step is recognition that a patient may be at risk for a sleep disorder and this is best accomplished with screening: from the history to the review of the medical history to the use of standard questionnaires. This can be done by anyone in the dental office. The role of the dentist in the management of a sleep breathing disorder most often involves the use of an oral appliance. Recognizing the wide variety of oral appliances that are available and how to derive the most optimum outcome leads to the highest level of patient care.