It is estimated that 80% of people who suffer from sleep apnea in the United States go undiagnosed each year. According to the American Medical Association, out of the 30 million people who have sleep apnea, only 6 million are diagnosed. This means 24 million people are suffering from this sleep disorder without any treatment.
What role do dentists play in sleep?
This provides an incredible opportunity for dentists. By adding sleep medicine services to their practice, dentists can increase their income by 5x. Most sleep apnea patients think they will have to live with a CPAP machine for the rest of their lives – the truth is they may not even need it. Oral appliances that assist in opening the patient’s airways are an option available to them. Dentists already know how to take impressions, so they have the experience needed to create these oral appliances.
Dentists can also reduce their overhead by 50% – Thanks to the simplicity of the treatment, dental sleep medicine practitioners, unlike general practitioners, don’t need to rely on a host of expensive medical devices or a large staff to perform a wider suite of services. The appliances are also eligible for reimbursement by the patient’s insurance – dentists can get an average of $3000 per appliance. By treating sleep disorder patients, dentists can make more income and work fewer hours, giving them a better work-life balance.
Why some dentists believe sleep ‘doesn’t work.’
While implementing sleep medicine into their dental practice can be a lucrative move, many dentists misjudge sleep as a waste of time that doesn’t really work. Usually, it’s because they’ve spent money and time on program after program and yet have nothing to show for it. One of the reasons this happens is most programs
focus on teaching the clinical side of sleep medicine while neglecting some of the most important success factors that are crucial in sleep medicine
They learn how to diagnose and treat sleep disorder patients, but don’t understand the operational difference between a general and sleep practice. They were not taught enough about the business side, including billing, insurance, and legal frameworks. Understanding the science of sleep is important to implementation, of course, but without the business techniques necessary to bring in more sleep patients, and run the practice smoothly, dentists are set up to fail.
Another reason dentists fail to see the results they’re expecting is they’re trying to run a one-person sleep practice. Their general dentistry practice is kept going by a team of hygienists, receptionists, and billing specialists. Yet, most of the work being done on the sleep side falls to the dentists themselves – they have no support, and they don’t know what support to ask for. If they’re running their general practice with a team, it only makes sense they’d have a higher chance of success.
It’s absolutely critical to have the right team in your sleep practice, so the dentist isn’t the only one interacting with sleep patients. With the dentists splitting time between their general and sleep patients and no one else to help with those sleep patients, the goals and objectives for the dentist and the rest of the practice become blurry.
What can dentists do differently to succeed in sleep?
Dentists should be provided with well-rounded training and education in sleep medicine and be prepared to do things differently. They should be ready to challenge the status quo and understand the business techniques that will help you grow your sleep practice.
International Academy of Sleep is hosting a Sleep Practice Blueprint event in Las Vegas from September 11-12, giving dentists the perfect opportunity to step into the world of sleep medicine. This two-day event will feature some of the top names in dental sleep, including Brandon Hedgecock (Founder & CEO of Sleep Better Austin), Chad Denman (Founder & CEO of Sleep Cycle Centers), and Avi Weisfogel (Founder & CEO of International Academy of Sleep).
At the Blueprint, attendees will learn:
- The IAOS framework
- A proven 27-step reimbursement process
- Legal, business, and insurance frameworks
Get ready to 5x your income
Dentists can potentially 5x their income by implementing sleep medicine into their current practice. By implementing the science of sleep, the right business model, and including their team, dentists can earn more by working less and know they’re helping people live better lives.
Don’t miss the opportunity to attend the last FREE sleep training of the year – register for the Sleep Practice Blueprint in Las Vegas here and see the full speaker lineup. You can earn up to 14 CEs by participating by attending this 2-day training, but only a few seats remain, so save your spot now!
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