An Interdisciplinary Approach to Treating a Chronic Sleep Condition Author- Jim Duffy
Interdisciplinary treatment planning is a concept that’s gaining relevance among oral health professionals. It’s one of the chief tenets of the popular Seattle Study Club, and many finding it extremely rewarding to work with a group of like-minded professionals when treating their patients. This evolving holistic approach to oral health is exemplified in the evolving role that the orthodontist can play in addressing sleep apnea.
The notion that people should see an orthodontist about the sleeping problems they or their children endure might come as a surprise to the general public, but more and more medical and orthodontic experts are pointing toward a future that heads in that direction.
Consider, for example, the most common type of sleep-disordered breathing, obsessive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). It’s quite common among both children and adults, though precisely how common can be difficult to say because the condition is significantly under-diagnosed.
A 2012 paper in the journal Pediatrics placed sleep apnea numbers among children within the broad range of 1 to 5 percent of the population. The nonprofit Sleep Foundation estimates that at least 18 million adults have OSAS.
The syndrome can affect patients in a range from mild to severe, with the more serious cases being quite dangerous to long-term health. Among children, OSAS has been linked with poor school performance, learning disabilities, behavior problems, and even some cardiac abnormalities. In adults, it can boost the risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, and insulin-dependent diabetes.