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Welcome to dentistry’s largest dental hygiene practice management resource center! We are the leading dental hygiene consultant/coaching business.

We will increase your TOTAL dental practice profitability without working more hours or days each year.

- Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS, Speaker, Author. Dental Hygiene Coach & Consultant

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Dental Coach | Sleep Apnea and the Elderly Population

By: admin

February 15, 2018

Written by: Cindy Rogers, RDH, BS

Why is it that the older we get, the less we sleep? It is well known that the elderly in general do not sleep well at night. Many stay up late, sleep in their recliner, and get up in the morning before the crack of dawn. Yet, they are tired during the day and plan social activities around their naps. As people age, they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep. It is a misconception that sleep needs decline with age. In fact, research shows that our sleep needs remain the same during adulthood.

So then, why do people sleep less as they age? One very possible reason is that they may be suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a chronic condition characterized by frequent episodes of upper airway collapse during sleep. OSA is comprised of two types of events. Apnea, in which there is 100% flow limitation for at least 10 seconds. And, Hypopnea in which there is at least a 30% decrease in airflow lasting 10 seconds or greater with oxygen desaturations greater than or equal to 4%.

 

How Common is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

According to the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine- September 2014, 40% of adults over 40 snore (approximately 87 million Americans).  18% of men and 8 % of women between 30-70 suffer from some form of OSA. Less than 10% o OSA sufferers have been diagnosed. Of those 10%, less than 25% have been successfully treated.

The risks of untreated sleep apnea include cardiovascular disease, memory loss, depression, lack of energy, sleepiness, mood changes, social implications, irritability and more. Does this sound like anyone you know?

 

Should Dentures and Partials Be Worn at Night

We have been trained to advise our patients to remove their dentures and partials at night so that the gums and tissues can rest. However, without the dentures and partials in place, there is less support for the lips and cheeks. When a person lays down without this support for his lips and cheeks, they collapse further into the mouth cavity adding to the obstruction of the airway. Perhaps we should recommend that our elderly patients wear their dentures and partials to bed and let them soak during the day.

 

Screening Signs and Symptoms of OSA

Does your patient snores?  Do they suffer from acid reflex or G.E.R.D? Do they get headaches such as migraines, cluster headaches, or dull morning headaches? Do they urinate frequently at night? Do they have enlarged tonsils? Do they suffer from excessive sleepiness and fatigue? Do they have high blood pressure? Do they have diabetes? Do they have a scalloped tongue? Do they show signs of clinching and bruxing? What is their Malampatti class?

 

OSA, High Blood Pressure, Heart Attack, and Stroke

There is a sympathetic response in the body every time an apnea or hypopnea occurs.  This causes the heart rate and blood pressure to increase.  People with OSA have hundreds of events per night, thus the body remains in a constant state of elevated blood pressure.  The body does not get sufficient oxygen, because of this it is not converting enough into nitric oxide. Without enough nitric oxide, the blood vessels narrow and the

endothelial lining of the arteries break down making them more susceptible to plaque building up. Narrow arteries, with risk of blockage equal high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.

 

OSA Diagnostics and Treatment

If you suspect a that a patient of any age may suffer from OSA, they should be referred to their physician or a sleep MD to have a sleep study done. Once diagnosed with OSA, there are several options for treatment. The standard of care and best option is still a CPAP machine. However, it only works if the patient wears it, which can be difficult for some patients.  Another great option is a sleep appliance that Dentists can provide with proper training and a written prescription from the MD.  I would also encourage Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy in conjunction with any of these options.

 

References

1. American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine web site. http:/www.aadsm.org/

2. Sleep Group Solutions- Dental Sleep Medicine Seminar

3. Somnomed web site. http:www.somnomed.com/

 

 

Cindy Rogers, RDH, BS, is a dental consultant, coach, speaker, and author. She is office and hygiene coach with Dental Practice Solutions. Please contact Cindy for a complimentary Profit Boosting Session at no cost: cindy@dentalpracticesolutions.com or Call to schedule: 949-351-8741.

 

 

Dental Consultant | Give Your Dental Marketing A Boost in 2018

By: admin

February 8, 2018

Guest Blog By: Mandy Fischer of LocalMed.

Was one of your New Year resolutions for 2018 to improve your marketing strategy and bring in record numbers of new patients?

If it was, but you’re not entirely sure where to begin – we have some suggestions for you! These 5 action points can help you decide where to focus your time and effort this year in order to take your marketing to the next level.

1. Take advantage of peer-sharing groups.

If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to expand your marketing toolkit this year that requires nothing but your time and effort, check out and get involved in the groups that already exist fo

r your benefit on social media.

There are dozens of groups and forums out there where dentists, office managers, consultants and marketing professionals are discussing best practices, what works and what doesn’t. Make it your mission to find at least one group that you can contribute and ask questions in this year!

  1. Audit your digital presence.

Google yourself, and check out the first few pages of results. Make sure that your practice’s name, phone number, address, email address, web address and doctor’s name are all correct on every listing. If it isn’t – make a note of it, and fix it ASAP. If there’s differing information, you’re doing significant harm to your brand and likely losing potential patients.

Your digital presence is there to build trust with potential patients, and if you’re providing conflicting information, they’re just going to choose a different dentist.

 

  1. Be strategically social with your patients.

Take a critical look at your social media strategy. Are your posts engaging people, or is nobody looking? Make it your mission to post relevant, fun, personable information that will make people WANT to come to your office! One of your most valuable assets is your branding – and that includes your social voice!

Post authentic photos of you and your staff having fun in the office, or happy patients (make sure to comply with HIPAA law) – and stay away from posting anything clinical that will scare away patients (i.e. a before and after of teeth whitening is fine, but a patient being prepped for implants is not!).

 

  1. Diagnose your overall brand health.

Your brand includes your visual assets, your brand voice and your customer experience. Evaluate your office’s current efforts, and come up with a specific plan for improvement.

Some questions you can ask to diagnose how you’re doing:

  • What are your reviews saying? Do you have any reviews? Are they old or negative?
  • What is your social media interaction like? Is your social brand voice unique and engaging?
  • What’s your marketing materials look like? Do you have a library of mismatched assets that could be attributed to any dental practice? Do you have a brand guide that establishes standard fonts, colors and voice?
  • What are the common complaints or comments patients have made in regards to your calls, procedures or marketing? Ask your staff. What can you do to make their experience even better!

  1. Close the loop on your marketing.

In addition to the tasks above, make sure you have a comprehensive marketing strategy in place. Facebook ads, direct mailers, referrals and ground marketing are all great ways of getting the word about your practice out.

But how do you convert leads into patients? If it’s by phone call only, or an “online request”, it’s time to upgrade to a better system.

Real-time online scheduling is the missing piece that closes the loop on your patient acquisition process. Enable patients to schedule an appointment with your office from wherever they find you, like your website, Google, Facebook, HealthGrades, Yelp, etc.

By giving patients the option of booking their appointment on the their own time, you can significantly increase your conversion rate on your current marketing efforts, meaning more patients in your door without needing to add any additional marketing strategies.

 

 AUTHOR: Mandy Fischer
Marketing Coordinator for Local Med

Thank you to our guest blogger this month! We had a wonderful response a few months ago when Mandy wrote for us. We appreciate LocalMed and all they do to get patients scheduled even when you are not there to answer the phone call.