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Its not rocket science and you don’t need to be a healthcare professional to know that when a process, which is normally silent, starts making lots of noise – something is wrong.
What am I talking about?
Breathing while you’re asleep. Or noisy breathing while you’re asleep: we all call it snoring.
Snoring? And there you go – laughing it off:
“I don’t have a problem with snoring – I’m asleep, ha-ha”
Or other ways to dismiss the awkward topic.
Now, I’m no psychologist but I recognise embarrassment when I see it.
So it was lucky, when today I read an article targeted at US dentists, about listening to patients called:
“A recipe for success: have the right conversation” by Michael Cowen.
The key bits for me, if I brutally paraphrase it (and I hope he forgives me if I have torn the heart and soul out of it) were:
Separating the person from the problem – Helping them understand they are not the problem, but that they do have an issue that can be overcome.
Empathising with them – Getting to what is most important for them and how overcoming both snoring and any symptoms of untreated OSA will protect that.
Explaining that their reality right now can be changed. Motivating them by painting a picture of how life could be – should they try.
Snoring really isn’t funny and laughing it off doesn’t make it go away.
Embarrassing problems deserve valid help not exploitation with gadgets, that merely delay effective treatment – treatment which is widely available, NICE recommended and in the scheme of things like a pair of glasses, reasonably affordable.
And snoring may be a symptom of sleep apnoea, which is so eminently treatable and life-changing for the former snorer, such that helping patients overcome OSA with effective treatment is reward in itself.
We recently published a Position Statement. We did this because while it was clear to us – it was perhaps not clear to everyone else, what our views are on topics such as:
Dental Sleep Practice. https://dentalsleeppractice.com/a-recipe-for-success-have-the-right-conversation/ Accessed 23rd April 2021.