Dentistry's role in the recognition and treatment of sleep-breathing disorders: the need for cooperation with the medical community

J Calif Dent Assoc. 1998 Aug;26(8):591-8.


While oral appliance therapy for the treatment of sleep-disordered breathing can be an exciting and rewarding adjunct to the practice of dentistry, it is essential that dentists realize that snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are medical and not dental problems. Sleep-disordered breathing and its sequelae are diseases that should remain in the purview of the medical community. While the dentist can identify patients with sleep-breathing disorders and participate in their treatment, it is essential to emphasize that sleep-breathing disorders are potentially life-threatening diseases whose diagnosis and treatment are the domain of the medical profession. Accepting dentistry's position as part of a treatment team, ongoing review of scientific literature, cooperation with medical colleagues, and attendance at educational meetings dedicated to the study of sleep-related disorders are essential to proper and ethical dental participation in the treatment of sleep-disordered breathing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dental Care for Chronically Ill*
  • Humans
  • Oropharynx / anatomy & histology
  • Oropharynx / physiology
  • Patient Care Team
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / complications
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / therapy*
  • Snoring / diagnosis
  • Snoring / therapy