Would you trust a dentist to diagnose your sleep disorder? If you said “no,” the Texas Medical Association is on your side, and is taking its concerns to court . Why, you ask? Because diagnosing and treating sleep disorders is outside the realm and qualifications of dentists–at least it is if you are a physician and member of the Texas Medical Association.
But not everyone sees the issue in such black and white terms. The fact is that dentists do treat at least some sleep disorders, particularly when the treatment calls for the patient’s use of an appliance worn inside the mouth. And the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine is made of dentists devoted to the specialty. When I was treated by NYC-based dentist Michael Gelb, DDS, for TMJ, I learned that not only does he specialize in treating sleep apnea- -he revolutionized its treatment with some of his own inventions.
So why would a medical association, the members of which likely swore an oath to support tort “reform” and never resort to something as sordid as the courtroom, sue to prevent dentists devoted to certain sleep disorders from treating them? I mean, this is Texas, bastion of large-scale tort-reform legislation by that celebrated visionary, Gov. Rick Perry. Might it be that these Texas doctors are concerned about the thickness of their wallets, and simply don’t want to let any business slip away? I’m just asking, because of course, I have no opinion. Really.