Joachim is the principle dentist of Hornsby Dental Centre where he and his staff focus on Orthodontics, TMD treatment and Dental Sleep Medicine. Joachim is a Platinum SomnoMed Dentist and is currently studying towards a M.Phil. Sleep Medicine.
Many elements can turn a dental practice with very little knowledge of Dental Sleep Medicine, into a practice specialising in that field. I have been in private practice for over 19 years and in my mind, there are 3 key areas that you need to focus on.
- Research and continuing education
- Fostering a multi-disciplinary approach amongst colleagues
- Long term follow up of patients
1. Research and continuing education
Knowledge is key. It is essential to read both dental and medical literature surrounding Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) conditions. Study groups/conferences foster good relationships with sleep colleagues which keeps you in touch with what’s current in this field.
Continually educating yourself allows you to:
- Easily identify those SDB patients most at risk
- Develop the skills required for oral appliance therapy and to understand the their risks, rewards and limitations
- Integrate SDB treatments as part of a more wholistic approach to health and less of a fragmented sideline of dentistry
2. Multidisciplinary approach
No man is an island! It is impossible to be an expert in all fields of SDB. Foster good relationships with people who can make your job easier. Moreover, multiple sites of obstruction can occur and the consequences of SDB may affect a myriad of other health disciplines.
Long term, regular communication is a must. Follow up studies are encouraged and should be carried out.
3. Long term follow up
I follow up by;
- Monitoring my patients regularly and collating data about long term efficacy and making the necessary advancement or adjustments when required. This commitment maximizes the therapeutic effect of MAS therapy
- Looking for side effects such as occlusal changes, compliance and fit
- Following each visit with a letter to the referring physician