talking to patients

Tips From TEE – How to begin the patient conversation

Ways to begin a patient conversation regarding the management of airway and breathing disorders


Some dental offices struggle with the initial conversation regarding airway health in your patient population.  During our two-day seminars, we help the dental team (and dentist) feel more comfortable sparking the initial conversation, with the intention of screening for a sleep-related breathing disorder.  We have found a comfortable level of success in having the following discussions with patients…


   – Discussing patients’ medical history can help provide clues to whether they are experiencing a Sleep Disordered Breathing issue.  Be sure to discuss medications they may be taking for High Blood Pressure, Diabetes Type II, Cardiac Problems, etc.


– Assistants finishing set-up can start a conversation about airway health and ask the patient if they wish they had more energy.


– Hygiene, in a unified message can discuss areas of overlap.  Such as an airway obstruction and scalloped / large tongues, or airway anatomy and nasal anatomy.  From there, introduce Airway Management opportunities.


– Whatever you do, keep the discussion limited to your concern for their overall health.  Do not tell the patient they have OSA, but rather focus on getting a diagnostic sleep test first.  Instead, ask if they ever feel well-rested or wish they had more energy.


– Discuss the route of respiration – nose vs. mouth breathing – especially during night.  For instance we can ask, ‘Do you have difficulty breathing through the nose?’



If you or your team find yourself struggling in these areas, give us a shout.  We have been overcoming the most common hurdles associated with airway & breathing disorders for over a decade!


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