The need for diagnosing and treating Sleep Disordered Breathing, including Obstructive Sleep Apnea, is critical due to the volume of potential patients affected, the associated health risks (diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, depression) and the potential for reduced quality of life (poor concentration, fatigue, increased risk of accidents).10
Diagnosis and treatment of OSA should not have to wait until patients’ symptoms are bad enough to drive them into their doctor’s office. Dentistry has, as part of its treatment structure, a yearly recall of patients. This presents an opportunity for sleep disorder dentists to partner with sleep physicians to improve patient quality of life and lower healthcare costs by working together to diagnose and treat OSA appropriately. Pulse oximetry sleep tests are useful to dentists for managing mandibular advancement splint (MAS) appliances but not for diagnosing or confirming resolution of OSA. Only a sleep physician who is board certified in sleep medicine can diagnose or confirm resolution of OSA.11 MAS is reimbursable, and overnight pulse oximetry sleep tests can be included as part of the cost-of-care delivery. Oximetry sleep tests are easy and inexpensive for dental sleep practitioners to employ using a pulse oximeter such as Nonin Medical’s WristOx2 Model 3150. Training is minimal, and patients appreciate the fact that their oxygen saturation levels are being monitored for verification of MAS effectiveness before they return to their physician for a final polysomnography. Performing these tests lets the physician know that the dental practitioner is serious about OSA treatment and knowledgeable about how to make treatment effective.
To read more about the study by Ronald S. Prehn, DDS visit the Blog at https://airwayandsleepgroup.com/2021/06/01/using-overnight-pulse-oximetry-to-manage-oral-appliance-therapy-oat-during-treatment-for-obstructive-sleep-apnea-osa/