For Dr. Diana Batoon, her journey into dental sleep medicine began as a personal mission to unlock some questions about her child’s behavior.
With teachers suggesting that her son had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Dr. Batoon began to research why her son was having trouble staying focused at school. As it turned out, it was because he wasn’t getting enough restful sleep due in part to sleep apnea issues.
“I began a deep dive into researching, like how could this happen to my kid? I didn't understand,” Dr. Batoon said. “I thought I was a good parent. I thought I was doing all the right things. I was feeding him the right foods, but what it came down to it is my kid was really not sleeping very well.”
That bit of enlightenment turned into a passion for Dr. Batoon, who now incorporates dental sleep medicine into her Arizona dental practice and encourages other dentists to see how airway management could make a difference for patients and their loved ones.
“It might not be the patient that has a problem,” Dr. Batoon said. “It might be their loved one. It might be their grandchildren. It might be their friends. For me, it’s about spreading that message, because, if you look at it today, I think the number of people that suffer from some type of sleep disorder keeps rising. The number of children that are medicated for anxiety, depression, mood disorder, or even just attention span, it's increasing. So we need to find a better way, and we look at maybe just changing their sleep patterns. It really does make a difference.”
This is only part of the conversation I had with Dr. Batoon. In our wide-ranging talk, we discussed topics ranging from her advice to other dentists on the subject of dental sleep medicine to signs that could indicate which patients are struggling to get enough sleep.