Treatment of sleep apnoea

The DDU advises dentists considering offering patients an oral appliance to help treat snoring to:

  • Carry out a full assessment of the patient's condition so that you can judge whether they may be helped by the fitting of an oral appliance. If you feel the patient would benefit from medical or lifestyle advice, rather than dental treatment, because, for example, their snoring is caused by sleep apnoea or being overweight, smoking or alcohol intake, you may need to refer the patient to their GP.
  • Consider whether treating sleep disorders falls within your area of competence and expertise and that you have completed appropriate training. Most dental professionals will only have the expertise to treat uncomplicated snoring with an oral appliance
  • Follow a recognised protocol, for example the British Society of Dental Sleep Medicine (BSDSM), has published a treatment protocol.
  • Ensure patients understand what is involved in the fitting and maintenance of a oral appliance, the risks and benefits, any alternative treatments and the cost.
  • Keep a record of the discussion in the patient's notes.
  • Ensure you arrange monitoring and follow-up to see whether the appliance is working - you may need to ask the patient's sleep partner to attend an appointment with them to assess the effectiveness of the treatment. If the treatment is not successful, you may need to refer the patient to their GP.
  • Inform the DDU if you are planning to carry out this work. We will usually indemnify you for the treatment of uncomplicated snoring with an oral appliance, without the involvement of a medical practitioner, provided you follow a recognised protocol, such as the BSDSM guidelines and have appropriate training

Further information

  • Goodnight Britain was broadcast on BBC One on 28 & 29 November 2012.

This page was correct at publication on 19/12/2012. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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