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Dawson Quick Tip: Evaluating Patients for Sleep Disorders

One of the things that Dr. Dawson has taught us over the years is that part of being a complete dentist is really being a physician of the masticatory system.

So one of the things that we have been doing for our patients at our complete exam appointments is evaluating them for potential sleep disorders.

And with our new patients, we go through the entire Dawson Diagnostic Wizard® exam, and we check several things that help us screen for sleep disorders.

  1. We check the Mallampati score, and there's a beautiful page, with photographs, in the wizard that helps you evaluate that opening at the back of their oropharynx to get their Mallampati score.
  2. We do a neck measurement. We actually keep a tape measure in each of the operatories because we know that if women have a neck measurement over 16 inches - and men, over 17 inches - that there's a 90% correlation with airway obstruction.
  3. We also check for presence or absence of tonsils.
  4. We evaluate them to see if they snore or if their partner tells them that they snore.
  5. And oftentimes, we'll even do the Epworth sleepiness survey.

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And then for patients that have positive feedback in several of these categories, we work with a company that will send in a sleep screening form, and the company will file the patient's medical insurance for them. And they'll send them a device that they use in their home for three nights. 

They'll sleep with this device on. And then we get a beautiful report back from an MD physician, who's board certified in sleep medicine, and it will give us feedback on their apnea and hypopnea scores. And then if it comes back that they do indeed have some apnea, we'll refer them to an ENT, then, for a full sleep screening.

So I think this is something that we've been able to do for our patients that not only can improve their dental health - and some things that can cause them to protrude and wear - but also improve their overall physical health.

Dental Sleep Medicine

Dr. Angela Gribble Hedlund completed her undergraduate training at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where she received her Bachelor of Science Degree. She received her DMD from the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry in Augusta Georgia, and has completed an ADA-accredited program in Advanced General Dentistry at Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Hedlund practiced with Goldstein, Garber, & Salama for 16 years, and have recently opened a private practice in North Atlanta. She has practiced dentistry in Atlanta since 1994. Dr. Hedlund has also received extensive training in esthetic dentistry. She has received her certificate in the Postgraduate Program in Esthetic Dentistry from Baylor, as well as completing the Comprehensive Esthetic Restorative Continuum at the same institution. During her postgraduate studies at the Medical College of Georgia, she was awarded the Goldstein Esthetic Dentistry Award, presented yearly to a senior student who has shown exceptional interest and talent in the area of esthetic dentistry. She is an active member in the Georgia Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry where she is currently an accreditation candidate. Dr. Hedlund is an active contributor to organized dentistry. This began when she served as the first female president of an MCG dental class, and a representative to the American Student Dental Association executive council. She is currently a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, American Dental Association, Georgia Dental Association, the Hinman Dental Society, and the Academy of General Dentistry, where she has completed over 1,500 hours of continuing education in dental studies. She has received her Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry; this is an honor held by fewer than 2% of dentists in the country. In July 2006 she became one of the youngest women ever to receive Mastership in this Academy. Dr. Gribble also is on the dental advisory council for the Christian Medical Dental Assocation. Dr. Gribble has published articles in the Journal of Esthetic Dentistry and the Journal of the American Dental Association. She has served as a contributing editor to the Dental Study Club Journal, which contains reviews from leading clinicians on articles from over seventy-five international dental journals. She also lectures on the subjects of restorative and esthetic dentistry. Dr. Gribble paid for a large portion of her education and received lots of “smile practice” in the Miss America Scholarship programs. She was 2nd runner-up in Miss Augusta in 1991, and 2nd runner-up in Tennessee’s America Junior Miss Pageant in 1985. Dr. Angie Gribble Hedlund enjoys singing, scrapbooking, and is a master scuba diver. She is an active member of the Atlanta Women’s Medical Alliance and Bible Study Fellowship where she serves as the Substitute Teaching Leader for the Norcross Women’s class. She and her husband Richard are members of Roswell United Methodist Church. They volunteer regularly with the children’s program there with their 2 daughters Tori and Lexi.