In 2017, the American Medical Association House of Delegates approved an American Dental Association policy statement. That statement addressed dentistry’s role in sleep-related breathing disorders.
What the policy statement said is that dentists are the only health care providers with the knowledge and expertise to provide oral appliance therapy. This means that dentists are key to providing treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, especially when patients are non-compliant to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.
About 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. To make matters worse, 80% of cases of moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea go undiagnosed. This is where dental sleep medicine specialists come into the picture.
A dentist is often the first professional to notice a problem. This is often because a dentist is in contact with their patients more often than most physicians.