DR. SALEEMA ADATIA, DDS
A More Comprehensive Approach to Patient Health
Tell us a little about yourself and your practice.
I’ve been practicing dentistry for 12 years, before that I was a physiotherapist for about 4 years and then decided to make a change. My practice is 35+ years old. I bought it about 5 years ago and amalgamated with another practice in the building, combining two really well established older practices. We have quite a diverse population, catering to patients of all ages.
Why did you get into sleep?
Just over the past year or so, I’ve become a lot more interested in sleep apnea and the significant impacts it can have on our patients’ quality of life. It’s something that really resonates with me, along with the often related TMJ dysfunction, and is a great fit with my personal history. As I started looking into it more, it became something that I felt really passionate about and it just kept growing and developing. I found, once you understand what you’re looking for, the pieces of the puzzle all start to fall together and you realize there are a lot of patients in the practice who potentially have sleep apnea and don’t know it, or have been unsuccessful with CPAP. It’s opened up a whole new realm of therapies that we have to offer to our patients. It feels much more now like we’re treating our entire patient as opposed to just the mouth.
What challenges did you face?
Both previous doctors had a handful of patients who had been treated with oral appliances for sleep apnea and I was very uncomfortable dealing with that in any way. I felt very much like it was outside of my comfort zone and knowledge, and initially found it a very intimidating field to get involved with. So it was something I would tend to avoid, and any time those patients came in and needed anything we would refer them out.
How has MATRx plus helped your practice?
Learning about the MATRx plus really helped to take away that mystique and that intimidation factor of not knowing how a patient was going to respond. Suddenly sleep felt much more accessible and doable than it had previously. Having the tools at my fingertips to help in identifying and screening patients made the process seem very achievable, and gave me the confidence to dive into something that previously seemed so intimidating. Since we’re not worried about a long titration process and lots of trial and error, we can now say to a patient, with a great deal of confidence, “Absolutely, this is something that will work very well for you and this is your therapeutic position so we can get you there quickly.” It’s been something that the entire practice has really gotten quite interested in and passionate about.
What kind of patient response have you received?
Patients are really intrigued when you spend the time to show them some of the sleep reports and the technologies and what the machine can do for them. They also really appreciate knowing up front whether or not this is a treatment that will work for them. It’s a large investment and previously we were asking them to take a big leap of faith. Patients are now asking “why is my dentist asking about how I sleep”, they’re seeing us take a much more holistic, thorough, look at their health. There are so many effects of untreated sleep apnea, including heart, memory and concentration problems. It’s really shown them that we’re different than a lot of practices out there. We take a much more comprehensive approach here then just dentistry.
What would you say to a colleague who is considering MATRx plus for their practice?
It’s amazing because it’s so much bigger then I had ever expected it to be. So even if it was the dentist down the street, I would say that for us it’s been some of the best money we’ve invested in the practice. There’s something very different that you get out of helping a person on this level. Which isn’t to minimize what we do as dentists and what we do in dentistry; I think what we do is important and has value, however we’re used to being one of those evil necessities of life that people just sort of tolerate. But when you fit patients with these appliances, and for the first time in years they’re sleeping and they feel great, they are so happy to see you and grateful for what you’ve done for them. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences professionally in my life. It’s a fabulous feeling to know that you’ve had such a positive impact.