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a dentist treating a patientThe most common sleep related breathing disorders include snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome, as well as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea proves to be the one that is associated with many other diseases such as metabolic, respiratory, dental, and cardiovascular.

The role of dentists caring for these patients raises many risk management concerns. After assessing all patients for signs of these sleep disorders, it is vital that patient is first referred to an appropriate physician for appropriate oral appliances, and then a qualified dentist can evaluate the appliance.

The American Association of Sleep Medicine, American Medical Association, and American Dental Association specifically state that sleep breathing disorders are required to be diagnosed by a physician and not the dentist. Dentists can screen for these disorders, however cannot treat the patient.

If you have questions regarding this or any other risk management tools please reach out to:

Allison Jones, CISR
Mitchell & Mitchell Insurance Agency, Inc.
(415) 883-2525

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