You’re fed up with getting bad haircuts, so you go online to find someone new. You type “top rated hair stylist” in the search field and hit enter only to find that the top three results are for caterers. What? What do caterers have to do with hair? That is exactly what most people think when they see dentistry associated with sleep medicine. Whether you’re incorporating sleep and TMD therapy into your existing practice or starting an entirely new sector, your biggest job will be building awareness through sleep marketing.
They May Not Know There’s a Problem
One of the tricky things about OSA and TMD is that both are underdiagnosed. Not many people associate snoring, hypertension, and a propensity for clumsiness with a dangerous sleep disorder. Almost no one knows that neck pain, headaches, and earaches could be the result of a jaw misalignment. The first step in promoting your new service offering or existing service offering is to educate the community about the problem itself. Emphasizing the symptoms in your marketing — not just the treatments — is a good place to start.
The Role Dentistry Plays
Your other hurdle is to make people aware that dentistry or a dentists can provide a solution for their OSA or TMD. Once someone is pretty sure they have sleep apnea, the first person who comes to mind will be their primary care physician, not their dentist. If a person suffering from jaw pain happens to see a doctor who knows about TMD, they might be directed to a dentist; otherwise, they’ll just be given prescription anti-inflammatories for pain. Even doctors may not be aware that dentistry can correct the cause of these problems instead of putting a bandage on the symptoms. It’s up to YOU to make the public aware of what you can do.
Without building awareness, plan to sit around and wait for the phone to ring. All things considered, sleep dentistry and TMD treatment is relatively young. Education is the first step towards getting patients through the door and on their way to a healthier, pain-free life.