Patients who present with symptoms suggestive of OSA should be identified and referred to appropriate providers in the health care system. Table 2 shows, as an example, an entry point in health care where a patient such as this may be screened. The dentist may be involved in two different points in this flow diagram. First, the dentist who is aware of OSA as a condition will be able to ask the appropriate screening questions that may increase his or her index of suspicion that there may be sleep apnea at play. Secondly, the dentist may be tasked to help manage OSA by way of a mandibular advancement device.
Table 2. Patient Tracer Flow Diagram for Sleep Apnea.
CPAP = continuous positive airway pressure; MAD = mandibular advancement device, OSA = obstructive sleep apnea
Dental office staff should be aware of opportunities to intervene in patients who are suffering from OSA and through their efforts can reduce the negative health consequences of sleep apnea.
# Clinicians interested in pursuing further education are encouraged to explore the resources available through the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.