Why did you get into sleep dentistry?
So many people have sleep apnea and knowing that 50% of them wouldn’t tolerate a CPAP machine, I knewthere was a need. I thought it would be a great, less physically intensive, niche service that would give me theopportunity to spend some of my day really talking to my patients.
What challenges did you face?
I was always confident in the benefits of oral appliance therapy, but I knew deep down that some patients weren’t going to respond as well as we’d hoped, and I didn’t always know if we had the appliance at the right position. We could only go by how the patient felt, and while some patients would say they felt 100% better and were clear responders, others would say they didn’t feel much different but maybe weren’t snoring quite as much. So, I was always wishing I could confidently tell them where we needed to position their jaw, and if the appliance was actually working for them or not.
How has MATRx™ plus helped your practice?
I feel more confident now as a clinician to be able to treat people with the disorder. I can more confidently tell them if an appliance will work or not and where we need to move their jaw to best open their airway. It’s also saved time for us because I can fit them at their target position and have them back for one follow-up in a month, instead of frequent visits trying to figure out the right mandibular position.
We’ve had a few non-responders, which is disappointing for the patient and me, but it’s a good thing because now I can tell them that. They won’t waste their time, energy, and health on something that’s not going to be as effective as it needs to be. Patients are grateful that we’re not just selling them something that’s not going to work and that we’re getting to the bottom of what they need.
What kind of patient response have you received?
As I was screening more patients and talking more about it, our wait list was getting so long we had to get asecond system to speed up the process. When I explain the system to them and how it works, patients think it’s really cool and are impressed with the visual results they can understand. They feel good about the treatment and so do we. It’s been great and we’ve had some amazing patient results.
What would you say to a colleague who is considering MATRx plus for their practice?
If you’re willing to screen your patients, then you’re going to find that people want to try it and would rather use an oral appliance than a CPAP. Even those who haven’t been diagnosed before, they are pretty willing to get tested to either save their marriage from the snoring, or just be able to sleep better. It’s not hard to find patients. We ask every person that comes in if they have any trouble with snoring or sleep apnea or if they know anyone that does. Inevitably, everybody knows somebody who has an issue. Even with two systems, we still have people waiting to take the test, so I just continue to get more excited about it. It’s been really great for our practice.
Dr. Jared Nelson, DDS London Road Dental