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Letters: Screening for sleep disorders

April 07, 2014

While the March 3 ADA News article "Chairside Medical Screenings Could Save $102M a Year" is on target encouraging screening for systemic disease in the dental office, it falls short of the possibilities.

Just as our medical colleagues are focused on managing chronic disease among their patients, the article conveys the same myopia. One overriding condition that frequently is the driver for chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke and obesity is sleep disrupted breathing. That connection is well documented yet SDB is grossly underdiagnosed and millions of patients continue to be treated symptomatically.

Dentistry is perfectly positioned to actively screen people coming to us for care with simple questionnaires that are readily available. Just a simple form, no finger stick, no cuff or stethoscope, is required to potentially extend a patient's life.

John N. Stellpflug, D.D.S.
Beaver Dam, Wis.