Dental Sleep Medicine Academy looking for members

Dr Derek Mahony
Dr Derek Mahony

The Australasian Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AustADSM) was launched at a Sydney seminar recently, and is keen find members from anyone connected with the provision of treatment to snoring or OSA patients, according to founder Dr Derek Mahony.

“It is clear that in Australia, we are lagging behind the Americans and most of Europe, in this field. To help encourage more effective treatments, we propose that an Association of all interested parties should be organised so that we can educate and support ourselves,” Dr Mahony said.

Dr Mahony explained that this is a relatively new field of therapy that has allowed the dental team to help manage a medical problem—sleep-related breathing disorders ranging from benign snoring to severe obstructive sleep apnoea. Dentists are an important link in the chain. They can often identify abnormal conditions in their patients and screen for medical problems.

The AustADSM intends to help educate practitioner Dentists through clinical meetings, and webinars, that keep leading-edge ideas accessible and establish and maintain an appropriate treatment protocol. The options for treatment of OSA vary. The gold standard treatment is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), but this treatment has several drawbacks and long term compliance is poor.

Surgery may be an option, the commonest procedure being uvulopalatalpharyngoplasty (UPPP). Sadly, the success rate at 6 months post op is <50% with this percentage dropping with time.

Mandibular Repositioning Appliances (MRA’s) have been proven to be effective in the treatment of simple snorers and in those suffering from mild – moderate OSA. More recently they have been used with increased effectiveness in the treatment of some severe OSA patients.

The dentist has a role in screening for OSA by regularly updating medical histories, questioning on basic health issues, B.P, quality of sleep, daytime sleepiness, presence of witnessed apnoea’s, oesophageal reflux, Bruxism, heartburn and dental acid erosion. Positive responses should be referred to an ENT or sleep physician for investigation and diagnosis. The diagnosis can be accurately made after a polysomnogram, a laboratory controlled ‘all night’ sleep study.

Trained GDP’s are required to treat patients with sleep disordered breathing. The dentist should understand the nature of the patient’s dysfunction and should be familiar with the range of effective treatments available. There is a need to develop protocols for the assessment, treatment and long term follow up of OSA patients treated in general dental practice and to investigate and identify reliable predictors of successful treatment with MRA’s.

Anyone connected with the provision of treatment to snoring/OSA patients would be welcome to join, be they dental surgeons, dental technicians, medical practitioners, respiratory nurses, ENT consultants and Respiratory Medicine physicians. Membership is just $90 per year and includes a membership certificate, newsletter, and discounts to postgraduate CE courses

For further information please contact or call 02 9700 9173.


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