Episode 203 – Breathe Easy
“The best appliance for a patient is the one they will use.” ~attributed to Dr. Meghna Dassani (by way of Regan Robertson)
In this episode of Everyday Practices Podcast, co-hosts Regan Robertson and Dr. Chad Johnson dive into the exciting highlights of the 2023 Airway is Life Sleep Summit that took place September 8-9, 2023, in Houston, Texas. The summit, hosted by leading airway authority Dr. Meghna Dassani, was a powerhouse of expertise and solutions in the realm of sleep disorders, and featured a stellar lineup of speakers sharing the latest in airway management.
You’ll hear about some of the key takeaways from the summit including the importance of understanding the symptoms and solutions related to sleep-disordered breathing, and how it often goes undiagnosed. The discussion delves into the dentist’s role in screening and treating these issues, the need for collaboration between medical and dental professionals, CPAP vs. oral appliances, education, and awareness. By addressing the symptoms and offering a variety of treatments, the dental profession can have a profound impact on the health of patients’ sleep issues.
We encourage you to share this episode with fellow dentists and dental professionals and leave reviews on iTunes and Spotify to help spread awareness about the importance of airway health. We would also love to hear YOUR feedback and stories about airway management.
As you listen to this podcast, think about:
- What impact does sleep have on a person’s physical health, emotions, and memory?
- In what ways can advancing airway health lead to healthier communities?
- What is your role in addressing sleep-related issues in your patients?
Hi, Doctor. Regan Robertson, CCO of Productive Dentist Academy here and I have a question for you. Are you finding it hard to get your team aligned to your vision, but you know, you deserve growth just like everybody else? That’s why we’ve created the PDA productivity workshop. For nearly 20 years, PDA workshops have helped dentists just like you align their teams, get control of scheduling, and create productive practices that they love walking into every day. Just imagine how you will feel when you know your schedule is productive, your systems are humming, and your team is aligned to your vision. It’s simple, but it’s not necessarily easy. We can help, visit productivedentist.com/workshop that’s productivedentist.com/workshop to secure your seats now.
For me, I always like speakers that can really inspire and excite you and show you what’s on the cutting edge show you what and so, you know me not being a dentist but having that clinical background, it might be a yawn fest to you but for me, I was on the edge of my seat. I was just like, “This is the coolest stuff ever.”
Welcome to the Everyday Practices Podcast. I’m Regan Robertson, and my co-host Dr. Chad Johnson and I are on a mission to share the stories of everyday dentists who generate extraordinary results using practical proven methods you can take right into your own dental practice. If you’re ready to elevate patient care and produce results that are anything but ordinary buckle up and listen in.
Dr. Chad Johnson 1:39
Hey, everybody, this is Dr. Chad Johnson and welcome to Everyday Practices Dental Podcast with my co-host, Regan Robertson. Regan, how are you today?
I’m feeling rested. Chad, how are you?
Dr. Chad Johnson 1:51
Excellent. Well rested, because you just got back from Houston, right?
I did. I just went to the Second Annual Airway Summit that Dr. Meghna Dassani put on.
Dr. Chad Johnson 2:04
Yes, so Magna is a PDA grad and probably a Grand Slammer or two. I imagine.
She’s on PDA faculty now too.
Dr. Chad Johnson 2:17
I don’t think I knew that. So good. So for our listeners, if that’s new information to me, it’s got to be new information at some. She’s based out of Houston and she had this Airway Summit. Did she run this or was she the main speaker there? How did that work? I don’t know much about it. So I’m gonna pretend like I’m just a regular listener on this show, you know, the listening to it and ask you the questions. So you can fill us in about this. Is this an annual thing?
It’s annual and the answer is both. She was the lead presenter, and she facilitated the entire event. So she coordinated, organized, and owned it from start to finish, and it was a phenomenal event with some incredible speakers and she did a really great job at sharing her knowledge with her group of experts. So if you’ve heard me on the podcast before, I’ve talked about my own health team as like an like, support group around me, that’s exactly what she did. She brought in medical doctors, laser experts, fellow dentists, myself, I spoke on authentic marketing, as well, while I was on day one, and she basically that here is the support team that I’ve used to get Airway up and running and off the ground in my practice and, you know, you can learn from all of these experts to figure out how to implement it in your practice as well.
Dr. Chad Johnson 3:45
Okay, was this a two-day conference? Three?
It was a day and a half. She had it at the Houston Space Center, by the way, yes, with knowing credit, incredibly cool and they had an astronaut suit right next to us on stage when we were presenting. So I really, I liked the, like the metaphor for it, because I feel that the group, I think when dentists go out of their way to learn an additional modality to bring in a special service mix, that that takes gumption that takes something beyond the status quo that it should be recognized and I was really, really passionate that the, there were a lot of doctors in the room and I was just I was empowered to see how passionate everyone was about what’s going on with airway right now. I looked up some statistics and I thought that according to the NIH 80% of adults that have some sort of sleep-disordered breathing remain undiagnosed today and I don’t know if it was the NIH, so don’t quote me on this fully but I remember that
Chad Johnson 4:51
I’m quoting you, sorry
I know. There was another report of the estimated there was another report that was estimating that children who suffer from sleep-disordered breathing are up to 90% undiagnosed and I think that is gross. Like, I think this is very unfair. So I was really, really excited to see everyone coming together and I understand the difficulty of just having the medical dental bodywork community come together in order to make that diagnosis and what, because dentists can’t diagnose I’ve heard but they can screen for it and they can treat for it. So you have to work together. It’s like your hero’s journey, you have to be guided to each other and support each other snd that’s a lot of effort. It’s a lot of time. It’s a lot of dedication and so I was honored to be there to see people caring that much about humans.
Dr. Chad Johnson 5:41
Yes. Give me some logistics here, day and a half. Was this over like 30 dentists? Was it most dentists only, you know, like?
Dentists and some hygienists.
Dr. Chad Johnson 5:56
Oh, good. Very cool. Was this, like breakout sessions or was it all in the same room, multiple speakers or the same speaker the whole time? Did Meghna speak the whole time or how did that work?
It was all in one room and it was multiple speakers. Meghna kicked off the day and sort of set the tone for the philosophy and then she had a fellow dentist who has brought in frenectomy treatments and she spoke there was like I said a laser expert from Deka Lasers was there and talked about the really, really cool stuff that’s going on with lasers and I was mind blown. It was phenomenal. So he talked about some of the crazy treatment that was going on in your throat so that lasers can support. We had a medical doctor and Ian T was there as well. She had members of her own team discussing medical billing and the intricacies of medical billing. It was overall really, I think it was well-rounded.
Dr. Chad Johnson 6:54
Something I found out was that Deka Laser is based out of Florence, Italy.
They are and they had pictures of their Italian showroom floor and some cases. I nerded out chat like you would not believe it. They had video, like the Ian T had video there was a different example that was lasers are cool, man.
Dr. Chad Johnson 7:16
Lasers are cool and I’ve noticed that they offer lipo kind of lasers to which is a side you know thing not for dentists to try except on themselves for but Deka does it’s a co2 based laser that I know of traditionally, I don’t know if they make other kinds of lasers too, do you know?
I can’t you know, I should know that. In fact, I would feel the test because he was Dr. Scott Parker that was presenting and so he did talk about the wavelengths of the lasers and co2 versus the other lasers. I don’t I don’t recall if I don’t recall I did. I did hear about how much Deka invest in research and development and then what what laser wavelength could be used for which application it was just so informative. I mean, I’ve been around a lot of lasers. So I’m fairly, like on a layman’s level, at least I’m informed on what the potential is for lasers, but I had not thought about fractional use in, in the throat before and that was, again, of course it’s tissue though that made sense to me but it was just you always, for me, I always like speakers that can really inspire and excite you and show you what’s on the cutting edge show you what’s new and so, you know, me not being a dentist and having that clinical background. It might be a yawn fest to you but for me, I was on the edge of my seat. I was just like, “This is the coolest stuff ever.” Yeah,
Dr. Chad Johnson 8:49
Yeah, I started checking into that kind of stuff about 11 years ago, but I hadn’t done much with it just because it was out of budget so far as as I mean, the quick answer, you know, someone could be, “Well, it’s actually in your budget, I can make it work monthly and all right,” but I’m just saying, you know, at the time and even still, I’m just like I’ve got other, you know, bills to pay when I’ve got fun money, then I’ll certainly invest more into this.
He did have me I was ready to I was ready to drop $120,000 that I don’t have. I was ready to just like drop it on an ablative laser. I was like, “Can I just have this for my own kids?” He was showing faces you know before and after. They had like this older woman I think she was like in her 80s Maybe and it took though the way that they had to ablate her it was like six months of healing so it was intense. Yeah, I’m used to like hearing about six weeks is like the max, but it was a completely new faith. I was like right in my head. I was like, “Sign me up. Let’s go. Let’s go,” and I knew you’d be like, I’d be like check on get one get one.
Dr. Chad Johnson 9:48
Right. Hmm. So overall, I mean, did they talk about like the nitty gritty of, of CPAP versus oral appliances?
Yes, there are over 350 oral appliances I found out and Meghna went into details on many of them and she shared her, her perspective on the different appliances and yes, CPAP was discussed. A lot of my, I would highly recommend getting Meghna’s book, “The Tired Child”, I know you can find it on Amazon,
Dr. Chad Johnson 10:28
It was just released this spring, right?
It was just released the spring and it is it is the best. It’s just well, from a marketing perspective, for me, it’s the best because any parent can read it and understand what it is that she thinks but she does go into the science of sleep and what happened at your end, one and two and three and four stages of sleep and then goes beyond what we’re used to. I’m used to the surface of you go into REM sleep where you have deep sleep and that’s kind of where my discussion, she talks about how the brain sorts and file information at this stage of sleep. So it is like locking in memories from the day and then flushing out other memories and then when you’re dreaming how it’s helping you process emotions and things from the day that you weren’t comfortable processing during the conscious waking hours and she, she tied that together really beautifully, I think and the one big takeaway that I thought that I really, really liked is she said, “Which is the quiet number one question she gets is, which is the best applying to you.?
Dr. Chad Johnson 11:39
Yeah, I’ve heard
And her answer is the appliance that the patient will use. So she went down into her experience with it if you are if you have bruxism, if you is Brexit is that clenching, or is that grinding? Bruxism?
Dr. Chad Johnson 11:48
It’s a it’s a general term that would apply like a dynamic movement, you know, clenching to me, would it be bruxism? Right, the grinding.
So there were so many aha moments, I used to have a night guard years ago, and I could never keep it in ever. I just kicked it out all the time and it was expensive too and so I just gave up on it and didn’t use it and she was explaining that upper appliances can be difficult for people who grind at night and she’s like, they’ll kick them out, they won’t use them and I had an audible gasp and I was like, “What!”, and so she laughed, you know, because I’m in the back of the room and anyway, she was like, “Sounds like Regan has experience with that,” and then another time, some of the symptoms were surprising to me as well, that shouldn’t be overlooked that people just overlook and so she said, “If you ever drool on your pillow,” and I like again audibly gasped, and she was like, “Do we have a drooler, Regan?” I was like, “Well, sometimes I wake up and I have a drool, well like not all the time but sometimes and, it made me highly curious. Her presentation made me curious, and wanting to know more and of course, my particular experience in market,
Dr. Chad Johnson 12:55
What about it? I didn’t know
Dr. Chad Johnson 12:57
Is it so, is it because I am mouth breathing? Is that, Is it a sign of sleep disturbance? If that is one of the symptoms, do I have other symptoms to it? My you know, my, my kids have told me at times that they’ve heard me snore off and on like if I’m taking a nap or something and so it just, it made me more aware of the importance of getting the full night’s sleep and as an adult, I definitely cheat on sleep, or over the years, if I’ve had anxiety or work trouble, something that I’m stressing about, I will lose sleep over that and I’m understanding now if you can’t flush everything out at night and build up your immune system by going through all the proper levels of sleep, you’re just, you’re robbing yourself and you’re kind of setting up the snowball effect and so like I said, plugging this in to the marketing aspect of it, we must, we must grow awareness for people so that they can connect at their level of understanding which means symptom face, let’s focus on the symptoms and then solution base. People think it’s just the CPAP like that is your only option and that is not the truth. There are lots of other options for you to try and people are not aware of that and I actually had two Uber drivers who before the workshop, that were in different sleep apnea journeys, so I ended up talking to both of them about it and I just realized there is such a pressing need to create educational marketing and grow awareness around this topic because dentistry is the general public knows that can do, it’s limited, there’s so much more that we can actually do to help people
Dr. Chad Johnson 14:29
But we see patients a lot and what I mean is, I don’t know how the best way to word this, but within the community, we’re seeing patients more often at times than their, than their primary physician. So that you know, so we can have better community footprints or and touching, you know, like a community touch that goes beyond fixing , uh CPIC cavity, you know,
Thank you, it can go deeper and it can go deeper than addressing the symptoms alone. So Meghna and the entire team of speakers, I heard all of them from their area of expertise, including myself, I think we all had had it represented in one way or another, we have to go underneath the surface, we have to ask why something is occurring, and then we have to go underneath that as well. So they really practice what I call the third level of why, it was developed from Scott Miller, and I just really appreciate it that to me, that is being the patient’s advocate, when you’re willing to go a level down when you’re willing to take the time to screen and ask those questions. Yeah, you were right on Chad.
Dr. Chad Johnson 15:43
So, so just for reference, if people are listening to this, and years to come, or whatever, you know, referencing back, this is 2023, it’s September. So this is, you know, possibly going to be an annual thing that isn’t September, though, I imagine they have the right to, you know, to move it accordingly. So, but currently, it’s, you know, first week of September kind of thing. It’s in Houston, at least this last year and what was the official name of like the of the conference?
Yes, the official title of it is “Airway is Life Sleep Summit”, and she will be having one next year. She already has doctors signed up for it for next year.
Dr. Chad Johnson 16:21
Do you have the date on the website?
So I think that the date no, there’s no 2024 date up yet and I can see if I can get, you know, a website or something at time of publication for this, but yeah, yeah, we have some exciting, yeah, exciting things in the works and it will be in September, for sure and if she has the link for it, well, we’ll include it in the show notes.
Dr. Chad Johnson 16:43
It’s fantastic. Well, Regan, thanks for filling me in and you know, the listeners, more information about this and the nice thing about Houston, the east coasters, the west coasters, the Midwesterners, we all can hit, you know, Houston, pretty easy. That’s the beauty of Texas, so.
I would like to extend my gratitude to the healthcare community that is considering and taking steps in putting in advanced treatments like this, because I can see now from a 360-degree view point, you know, the amount of dedication it takes to put something like this in but how much healthier it’s making our communities and my big takeaway from this from all of the doctors there, and the hygienist and the team was they clearly want to grow awareness. They want to be able to treat more patients so that they can reshape their communities and I just think it’s such a beautiful mission, and I was really honored to be part of it.
Dr. Chad Johnson 17:36
That’s right. Very cool. Well, listeners, can’t wait to connect with you again next week for our next episode and thanks for joining us today to talk a little about sleep. Thanks, Regan.
Thank you, Chad. Thank you for listening to another episode of Everyday Practices Podcast. Chad and I are here every week. Thanks to our community of listeners just like you, and we’d love your help. It would mean the world if you can help spread the word by sharing this episode with a fellow dentist and leave us a review on iTunes or Spotify. Do you have an extraordinary story you’d like to share or feedback on how we can make this podcast even more awesome? Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t forget to check out our other podcasts from Productive Dentist Academy at productivedentist.com/podcasts See you next week.