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Episode #286 – Part 2 – Screening with Dr. Mark Murphy

the best practices show podcast Mar 30, 2021


You already screen patients for oral cancer — now, do it for sleep apnea! In part two of this series, Kirk Behrendt brings back Dr. Mark Murphy to teach you the best practices for screening your patients. Screening is quick, easy, and noninvasive. And the best part is, you don't need to figure out billing before you do it! For more of Dr. Murphy’s advice, listen to Episode 286 of The Best Practices Show! If you missed part one, be sure to go back and listen to Episode 285!

Main Takeaways:

  • Patients and their lives are very dynamic. You can't just screen them once.
  • Dentists are responsible and capable of screening for sleep-related breathing disorders.
  • Create curiosity and interest so your team wants to screen patients.
  • Use the STOP-BANG questionnaire to screen at-risk patients.
  • Use the BEARS questionnaire to screen at-risk children.
  • You don't need to figure out the billing to start the screening.
  • Have intentional conversations with patients about their risk, with hope of treatment.


  • “The algorithm we use has age as one of the eight factors that we look at very closely. And if you have three of the eight factors, you're at moderate risk. Four, you're at high risk.” (05:56—06:05)
  • “Even though the incidence of you finding an oral cancer, the incidence of you impacting somebody’s life is very small, you're willing to invest the time, the effort, and energy no matter what. You would never think of skipping that oral cancer screening exam . . . So, what if I told you that I needed you to screen for something during that hygiene visit, like oral cancer, that happens in 20% to 25% of your patients, and then when you do that you can save their life? Could you commit to that, no matter what?” (08:19—09:23)
  • “That's not the reason to do [screenings], to cover your ass . . . It’s about helping your patients be healthier.” (12:37—12:53)
  • “You don't have to treat sleep. I'm not suggesting you have to treat sleep . . . I don't have to be a specialist. I don't have to be a sleep doctor. I don't have to be a sleep dentist. But I've got to screen. And it doesn't take long.” (12:55—13:29)
  • “The idea here is, I have an algorithm that's pretty darn predictive for sleep apnea. And it’s not very invasive to get that information. Intentional conversations will do it.” (28:55—29:07)
  • “You have a chance in these kids to maybe change a long lineage. And to the person who says, ‘Man, you sure you want to do that to a five-and-a-half-year-old?’ What, you want them to have five years of hell and treat them when they're 11?” (32:33—32:45)
  • “You don't have to treat perio. Right? But you have to get started in screening for perio and making a referral. Same thing. So, I have to get started in screening [for sleep apnea]. I don't have a choice. I care about my patients, and I have a responsibility — moral, ethical, maybe even legal — so I want to get started in screening.” (35:39—35:56)
  • “When you go to some of the Scandinavian countries, 30% to 70% of the patients get oral appliance therapy first, CPAP therapy last. Hardly anybody wears a CPAP. Give a CPAP to 100 people, 40% will be wearing it at the end of the year. Give an oral appliance to 100 people, 90% will be wearing it at the end of the year, maybe 95%.” (42:37—42:59)


  • Dr. Murphy’s screening process. (02:41—05:00)
  • Are patients static or dynamic? (05:20—06:53)
  • Best practices for screening. (07:34—10:28)
  • Not screening is inappropriate practice. (11:11—14:15)
  • How to help your team understand the importance of screening. (15:06—18:24)
  • Ask high-quality questions. (18:25—22:36)
  • STOP-BANG questionnaire and six other questions to ask. (23:06—29:07)
  • BEARS questionnaire. (29:51—32:45)
  • How to refer patients to a sleep test. (33:05—35:06)
  • Just get started. (35:38—38:36)
  • Last thoughts on screening and STOP-BANG/BEARS review. (39:10—41:08)
  • Dr. Murphy’s contact information and what his company does. (41:26—44:02)

Reach Out to Dr. Murphy:


Further Reading:

SnoreLab app: https://www.snorelab.com/

Dr. Mark Murphy Bio:

Mark is an American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine Diplomate and has practiced in the Rochester area for over 35 years. He is the Lead Faculty for Clinical Education at ProSomnus Sleep Technologies, Principal of Funktional Sleep, serves on the Guest Faculty at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry, and is a Regular Presenter at the Pankey Institute. He has served on the Boards of Directors of the Pankey Institute, National Association of Dental Laboratories, the IdentAlloy Council, the Foundation for Dental Laboratory Technology, St. Vincent DePaul’s Dental Center, and The Dental Advisor. He lectures internationally on Leadership, Dental Sleep Medicine, TMD, Treatment Planning, and Occlusion.





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