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The Best Practices Show - ACT Dental EPISODE 276, 19th February 2021
How DSM Saved Some Practices During the Pandemic with Dr. Mark Murphy
00:00:00 00:45:22

How DSM Saved Some Practices During the Pandemic with Dr. Mark Murphy

How DSM Saved Some Practices During the Pandemic

Episode #276 with Dr. Mark Murphy

What if adding dental sleep medicine to your practice not only improved people’s health but also increased revenue? Today, Kirk Behrendt brings in Dr. Mark Murphy to tell you how! We know sleep is important for overall health, yet this topic is often overlooked by the dental community. With up to 30% of Americans possibly affected by obstructive sleep apnea, dental sleep medicine is an area every dentist needs to implement into their practice. If you want to learn more about this growing market that will continue to grow beyond the pandemic, listen to Episode 276 of The Best Practices Show!

Main Takeaways:

  • A billion people worldwide have obstructive sleep apnea.
  • The majority of people with obstructive sleep apnea go undiagnosed.
  • Bad sleep negatively affects physiology.
  • People’s health and life will change by treating this disorder.
  • Treating this disorder is also very rewarding for the dentist.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea does not just affect obese or old patients.
  • Adding sleep to your practice will increase revenue.


  • “There are a billion people worldwide that have obstructive sleep apnea. In the United States, it’s estimated somewhere between 20% and 30% — we don't know for sure — 45, 50, maybe 55 million. Depends on which article — it doesn't matter. A shit-ton of people have obstructive sleep apnea.” (10:18—10:39)
  • “85% to 90% of people with obstructive sleep apnea have never been diagnosed or treated. So, it’s this huge pandemic within the country before we had the pandemic.” (10:42—10:51)
  • “You don't really die of sleep apnea. You die of heart attack. You are 23 times more likely to have a heart attack if you have obstructive sleep apnea, four times more likely to have a stroke, ten times more likely to have an arrythmia, depression, diabetes, congestive heart failure — we could go on.” (11:08—11:28)
  • “Once you dip your toe in treating it, just like any dentist who’s dipped their toe in pain management, dipped their toe in cosmetic dentistry, dipped their toe in any aspect of dentistry that wasn't just Joe fill-and-bill, it feels very rewarding.” (11:45—12:01)
  • “Think of how their physiology is getting whacked when they're five, six, eight, 12, 15, on their way to all the list of comorbidities that I talked to, how many people had abnormal childhoods because we didn't know about this. But today, we can go into that mouth and we can say, ‘Holy crap. You don't have enough room for your tongue and it’s falling back on itself and choking off your airway.’ And you think, ‘Well, it’s not such a big deal.’ No — snoring is, by itself, an indicator that that child has obstructive sleep apnea.” (13:41—14:13)
  • “I was closing the patients’ airways who needed it open more than the other patients! I was killing my patients by making them bite splints and being so attentive to MIP or centric relation . . . But it’s what we knew at the time. It was the standard of care . . . To do that today, to treat a patient who’s a grinder with a traditional bite splint and not thinking about their airway would open them up to potential litigation down the road.” (16:51—17:28)
  • “We can learn how to do dental sleep medicine. It is, mechanically, incredibly easier than a bite splint — way easier than a bite splint.” (19:56—20:04)
  • “Dental sleep medicine grows 12% to 15% per year no matter what.” (23:47—23:53)
  • “How did dental sleep medicine save some dental practices? Well, when your dental practice is closed and you're not permitted to do dentistry, other than emergency work, what I do is not dentistry; it’s medicine. I am a dentist, but I am a DME, durable medical equipment, provider for a very necessary disease that needs to be treated: obstructive sleep apnea.” (24:28—24:54)
  • “A person who has obstructive sleep apnea, just like a person who has a vitamin D deficiency, is three, or four, or five times more likely to die of COVID-19. So, it couldn't go as an untreated disease.” (25:16—25:28)
  • “Our country, our society is getting fatter. In 1994, we did not have one state that was above 20% obesity rate. In 2019, we did not have one state that was under 20% obesity rate. So, we’re fat, we’re getting older, our mandibles are getting smaller; we’re not using them to chew mushy food. So, the market is growing constantly.” (39:09—39:32)


  • Dr. Murphy’s background. (03:13—09:44)
  • Why DSM is an important topic. (10:18—12:47)
  • Obstructive sleep apnea in children. (13:21—15:07)
  • Airway-centric prosthodontics. (15:32—17:28)
  • Importance of DSM in the future of dentistry. (17:51—20:04)
  • Medical insurance myths. (20:25—22:39)
  • How DSM saved some practices during the pandemic. (23:05—26:20)
  • What dental practices did during the pandemic. (27:09—30:56)
  • How to make money doing this. (31:23—35:34)
  • Getting started. (35:52—38:13)
  • The future for DSM. (38:41—41:59)
  • Last thoughts around DSM. (42:01—43:41)

Reach Out to Dr. Murphy:

Dr. Murphy’s email: mmurphy@prosomnus.com