Cliff's Notes

The Business of Dentistry

Dental OSA Screening, The Bridge to Primary Care

You have been to all the seminars and the experts told you how much mon-ey you could make fabricating an OSA oral appliance but they don’t bring up the patient deductible that usually leads to a nontreatment plan. The effort in screening and patient rejection made the program irrelevant when mixed in with the rest of the day so after a couple of months you forgot all about it. If this happened to you, you missed the big picture.

The Big Picture … A dental sleep medicine program is part of “Total Systemic Health”. Your patients think of you as just a dentist when you should be part of their personal healthcare team. The screening process for OSA takes about 2 minutes of a hygiene exam and it should be part of your preventive protocol.

Prevention Protocol … Medicine is reactive, dentistry is proactive. The average healthy patient sees their dentist 4 to 6 times more often than they see their primary care provider. People go to their medical doctor when they have symptoms and need to be treated but dentistry is positioned to identify abnormalities before symptoms develop. It’s all about screening. The possibility of early detection has been noted by the insurance industry.

The Insurance Industry … Most large insurance carriers have more money than banks. Delta Insurance is the only one that is dental only, the rest offer medical insurance. If a dental practice can identify abnormal systemic conditions before symptoms develop, treatment would save tens of thousands of dollars per incident and tens of millions annually. You will start to notice that as insurance reimbursements continue to decline, new diagnostic codes will become available for processing. Dental practices will be rewarded for preventive medicine. It all starts with patient screening.

Patient Screening … This is a team task. The screening process is nothing more than asking a few simple question while your team is taking the patients blood pressure. I hope you are check-ing BP because that is the ground floor of any total systemic health program. Questions about head aches, indigestion, snoring, or any aches and pains should be discussed with your patient.

Your Patient … Yes, they are your patients and just like your MD counterparts you need to be able to direct them to other specialist and provide your insight to their primary care providers. In the next few months you will be hearing about salivary tests that can gage the probability of your patient developing all sorts of systemic conditions. Imagine being able to inform a patient that they have a 70% chance of developing heart disease and providing that information to their primary care provider. You could save lives. But OSA screening is also a practice builder.

OSA Practice Building … Medical deductibles are high and dental OSA treatment plans are usually rejected but a condition has been diagnosed. With the patient’s permission the results of the test should be forwarded to their primary provider via registered mail and revisited at their next appointment. The chances are that the CPAP prescribed is not being used opening the door for the oral appliance. Please feel free to contact me for more details on systemic programs.


October 24, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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