Sleep Medicine in Dentistry

This issue of the Dental Clinics of North America is designed to enlighten the reader about the current status of various topics in sleep medicine that are of interest to the dentist. The overall intent is for this text to explore various aspects of sleep medicine that are or may be common in the everyday practice of dentistry.

Section I: Introduction to sleep medicine

This is a basic overview and introduction to sleep and sleep medicine. The focus is on sleep-related breathing disorders (snoring and sleep apnea) because this is the most common sleep disorder that involves the dentist, from the standpoint of recognition as well as treatment. The dentist who becomes involved in the treatment of sleep apnea patients will need to become aware of other sleep disorders as well. These include insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and periodic limb movement disorders, to name a few. All of these disorders may involve both adults and children; however, it is only recently that attention has been paid to the younger age group. The most common finding is snoring and this may be a sign that the patient is at risk for sleep apnea.

Section II: Evaluation and risk assessment for sleep disorders

In this section the assessment of a patient is covered from the standpoint of screening as well as from a more comprehensive aspect. This includes a clinical evaluation of the head, neck, and airway to what the most up-to-date imaging demonstrates to the results of a sleep study and how the dentist would evaluate the findings from such a study.

Section II: Evaluation and risk assessment for sleep disorders

In this section the assessment of a patient is covered from the standpoint of screening as well as from a more comprehensive aspect. This includes a clinical evaluation of the head, neck, and airway to what the most up-to-date imaging demonstrates to the results of a sleep study and how the dentist would evaluate the findings from such a study.

Section III: Health and medical consequences of sleep disorders

Sleep apnea and to some degree even snoring has an impact on the health and well-being of the patient. Dentists are involved more than ever in the overall health of the patient. This involves not only the health of the patient but also areas of everyday concern that the dentist sees and may treat. Therefore the need to understand the relationship between common conditions seen by the dentist is important. This includes orofacial pain/temporomandibular disorders as well as bruxism. Sleep disorders and especially sleep breathing disorders have a bidirectional relationship to a wide variety of health-related consequences.

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Oct 29, 2016 | Posted by in General Dentistry | Comments Off on Sleep Medicine in Dentistry
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