This article originally appeared in The Star Democrat
Smiles Incorporates New Sleep Dentistry Services
DENTON- At about 32 years into operating your own business, many business owners start to think about the next chapter of their life in retirement. But not Patricia E. Higgins, DDS, and Rowland S. Holsinger, DDS, at Smiles by Holsinger & Higgins in Denton. Instead, these doctors are moving full steam ahead with an eye toward innovation and a heart full of energy and enthusiasm — the qualities often found when launching a new practice.
In line with the practice’s strategic goal to strive for excellence in improving overall health and well being of its patients, Holsinger and Higgins and the dental staff have invested more than 18 months for advanced training to incorporate sleep dentistry services into the practice.
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, an estimated 22 million Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea with a vast majority of these cases — about 80 percent — going undiagnosed.
“Obstructive sleep apnea is common. Making jokes about your spouse’s snoring may seem funny, but snoring is not normal or healthy,” Higgins said. “When your breathing becomes obstructed (snoring) or stops (sleep apnea), even for a short while, it can have severe health risks.
“As dentists, we can see signs of airway problems in people’s teeth, mouths and throats,” she said. “We are concerned about our patient’s long-term good health so when we see a problem, we ask questions. Since many people see their dentists more often than their primary care doctors, dentists are in a unique position to identify possible sleep disorders.”
“There are many diseases that co-morbid (happen hand in hand) with sleep breathing disorders,” Holsinger said. “When the flow of oxygen is reduced to vital organs, health conditions such as GERD, heart disease, type II diabetes, irregular heart rhythm, weight gain, daytime sleepiness, frequent trips to the bathroom at night, TMJ and mood disorders can result.
“The CPAP (a machine that provides continuous positive airway pressure) is 100 percent effective to give a person oxygen while they sleep, but compliance is a problem with the typical CPAP machine,” he said. “Once a patient is diagnosed with snoring or sleep apnea, many times we can provide him or her with a dental oral appliance that helps them not only breathe better and get a good night’s sleep, but also can improve their overall health. Making our patients healthier has been a major tenet of our practice from day one.”
“In addition to completing extensive advance education in sleep dentistry, Drs. Holsinger and Higgins shadowed another dental power couple, Drs. Ed and Lynn Lipskis, at TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Chicago. Both doctors also tackled additional advanced training. Higgins completed a six-part Airway Oriented Orthodontics Course, while Holsinger continued his training on craniofacial development and temporomandibular joint disorders.
This past year was a year of continued learning and growth for the entire Smiles By Holsinger & Higgins staff.
“Our team continues to learn and go to classes with us,” Higgins said. “We all attended the ADA meeting and brought more new knowledge back to help care for our patients. Toward the end of the year, we welcomed Dr. Sloan’s patients into our family of patients.
The dental practice held several successful events in 2018, including two sedation open house events, the White-A-thon benefiting Tuckahoe Habitat for Humanity, a patient appreciation day picnic, the Halloween candy trade-in and the holiday open house.
“As we reflect on 2018 and look to the New Year we’ve just begun, we do so with gratitude and renewed energy,” Higgins said.
“An important part of our business model is about paying it forward. We enjoy having fun and giving back to our patients and our community,” Holsinger said. “We look forward to helping our patients not only get the smile they always wanted, but also enhance their overall health.”
Among the events circled by the Smiles by Holsinger & Higgins staff calendar for 2019 is the Eastern Shore Mission of Mercy, a free dental clinic in Salisbury, which will be held on April 5 and 6.
Smiles by Holsinger & Higgins opened in February 1986 and offers the convenience of comprehensive care for adult patients. It provides routine dental check-ups and cleanings, as well as cosmetic enhancements to improve the appearance of crooked, chipped, unevenly spaced or stained teeth, implants and other tooth replacement options. Since 2001, Smiles by Holsinger & Higgins also has provided sedation dentistry for the fearful patient or for those patients who wish to combine multiple procedures in fewer appointments. In 2018, the practice began offering sleep dentistry services. For more information, call (410) 364-4922 or visit smilesby.com or facebook.com/SmilesbyHH.