7 Ways Dentists Fail Treating Sleep Apnea
Successfully treating sleep apnea in your dental practice?
You have taken classes, attended seminars, webinars and online courses, but still you struggle to implement a dental sleep medicine program at your practice. At N3Sleep, we speak with dentists across the country every day and we see them failing at treating sleep apnea, usually for one of the 7 reasons listed below:
There is no sleep ambassador
The sleep ambassador is a key position in any practice treating sleep apnea. They manage the patient progress through the treatment protocol and ensure other team members get the information they need to play their own roles. The right person with the proper training is crucial to success in sleep.
The team doesn’t know what to do
Treating sleep cannot fall on the dentist alone. The team needs to be trained, but who will train them? Too often the dentist doesn’t have the time, skills or materials to effectively train a whole team on a new treatment protocol. Many seminars, classes and online courses contain valuable clinical and medical information but lack real world techniques for integrating into a busy dental practice. A properly trained and coached team is integral to any successful sleep practice.
No buy-in from team
You will not treat many cases if your team does not believe in dental sleep medicine. The patient will ask the hygienist or assistant if dental sleep medicine works the moment the doctor leaves the room. That is the moment the patient is treated or lost. If the team is not on board, the patient will not agree to testing or treatment. Getting buy in from the team is key to successfully treating sleep apnea in your dental practice.
Uneven screening / failure to comprehensively screen patients
1 out of 5 adults qualify as having a sleep related breathing disorder. But how many adults pass through your office each day without being screened? These people are suffering, many unaware that poor sleep is causing their symptoms and endangering their lives. Comprehensive screening is the only way to help these people. But many practices are inconsistent or even negligent in their screening because team members are too busy, forget to ask, or resist doing anything different from their normal routine. Reaching every patient in need requires integrating screening into the daily routine of the practice.
Poor case presentation
You have screened the patient and they have completed a home sleep test, or been tested in a sleep lab. You have their report and diagnosis from a board certified sleep physician indicating they are an ideal candidate for oral appliance therapy. You present the case to the patient, and they decline treatment. “I’ll think about it”. “No thanks, not today”. How many patients like this have walked out of your practice? Proper case presentation should result in at least 50% of patients agreeing to treatment, even when an out of pocket payment is necessary.
Problems with Medical Billing
Many dentists become frustrated with medical billing. The systems are totally different from dental billing which can make getting paid difficult, confusing and unpredictable. Many medical doctors agree with you. Proper training can help mitigate many of these factors, making compensation more predictable and manageable.
Lack of physician relationships
Physician referrals are key to every dental sleep practice. But building a solid referral network takes both time and effort. It’s not something that is taught in dental school. Many dental sleep medicine courses emphasize the importance of physician referrals but gloss over how to get them. Just like case presentation, there is a right way to go about it. Building good referral relationships is key to successfully treating sleep apnea.
Does your practice struggle with any of these areas?
There is a solution: Online training & coaching for your whole team from N3Sleep.
N3Sleep is different from other training courses, classes and seminars. We spend time with each member of your team, including the dentist, at their own desk, during a typical day. We educate, train and give them the processes, tools and techniques to effectively add dental sleep medicine to your already busy day. We coach them on how to talk to patients, effectively present cases and navigate typical roadblocks to treatment.
At N3Sleep, we speak with dentists across the country who are treating sleep apnea every day. We know what you are going through. And we know how to help you. It’s what we do. Every day.
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