Who Should Best Diagnose and Treat Sleep Apnea?

The blurred lines between doctors and dentists in the treatment of sleep apnea may soon become clearer.  In an announcement on their website on Monday, the Texas Medical Association (TMA) is fighting the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE’s) proposed rule change for dental treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.

Effects of sleep deprivation

The wide variety of negative health consequences from lack of sleep can make deciding on who to diagnose and treat your condition an important decision.

The TMA supports the Texas Medical Board’s (TMB’s) Position Statement on the Practice of Sleep Medicine and Dentists, which clearly states “the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea are the practice of medicine.”

The association told TSBDE in a letter that TMA “strongly opposes any attempt to expand the dentists’ scope of practice through the promulgation of rules that TMA contends not only lack support in, but also conflict with, the applicable law passed by the Texas Legislature.

TMA’s letter stresses the importance of a Texas-licensed medical doctor making sleep apnea diagnoses “to protect the health and safety of Texas patients.”

Although this particular issue is being addressed in Texas, all sleep apnea suffers are presented with multiple treatment providers and options.  Because those options can vary widely, from CPAP to RFA to dental devices and more, you should carefully consider how best to diagnose and treat this condition.  Not getting 7 hours of sleep can pose a number of serious health risks.

If you or someone you know is in need of a better night’s sleep, contact us for a no obligation consultation. We are the sleep specialists at Chevy Chase ENT located in the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. metro area dealing with sleep apnea and sleep-related problems.  We can help diagnose your condition, recommend whether a sleep study would be beneficial, and offer you a variety of treatment options including CPAPRadio Frequency Ablation (RFA) and more.