Learning Sleep from AADSM

An interview with Harold A. Smith, DDS, president of the AADSM
600x300_aadsmAs more dentists are choosing dental sleep medicine as a way to expand their practices and help patients, there is an increasing number of education and training opportunities in oral appliance therapy provided by dental schools and professional associations.
The American Academy of Dental SleepMedicine (AADSM) offers several educational courses for both novice and seasoned dentists, ranging from literature reviews to practical clinical applications. In an interview with AADSM President Harold A. Smith, DDS, he discusses the AADSM educational courses and how they can help dentists excel in dental sleep medicine.

A commitment to ongoing education
benefits dental sleep medicine
professionals and enables them to provide quality care.

There is a lot of education available in sleep today – probably once a month in major cities across the country a dentist can find a sleep course.
What makes AADSM courses different, something to seek out? Why is AADSM involved?
The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine is the only non-profit national professional society dedicated exclusively to the practice of dental sleep medicine. We offer continuing education because we know it’s extremely important for our members to stay up-to-date on advances in oral appliance therapy and provide quality treatment for snoring and sleep apnea.
All AADSM courses are recognized by the ADA Continuing Education Recognition Program (CERP), acknowledging them as quality continuing dental education. AADSM courses offer introductory and advanced-level education in dental sleep medicine, providing a comprehensive approach to oral appliance therapy. Courses cover the knowledge needed to treat a medical disease, the clinical skill required to fabricate and adjust oral appliances, and the fundamentals of dental sleep medicine practice management.
Dentists must continuously identify ways to demonstrate their proficiency in the fast-growing field of dental sleep medicine to be successful in networking and generating patient referrals. A commitment to ongoing education benefits dental sleep medicine professionals and enables them to provide quality care – and the AADSM is proud to play a role in helping dentists optimally treat their snoring and sleep apnea patients.
Please tell us about your faculty – how were they chosen? What type of practice do they come from? What’s special about them? Do dentists hear from just other dentists? Is there an MD perspective? What do they teach?
AADSM faculty are chosen due to their outstanding credentials in the fields of dental sleep medicine and/or sleep medicine. Lecturers speaking as dental experts are licensed dentists (DDS or DMD) with significant experience treating sleep-disordered breathing patients with oral appliance therapy, and they are either a board-certified Diplomate of the ABDSM, director of an AADSM-accredited facility or an educator in dental sleep medicine. In addition to dental sleep medicine, some faculty members have a background in other related fields such as oral surgery, pulmonology and respiratory care.
Many AADSM courses also feature an MD lecturer who discusses sleep-disordered breathing from a medical perspective, including an overview of sleep-related breathing disorders, polysomnogram reports, medical terminology, the comorbidities of untreated sleep apnea, and the development of a team approach to patient management. All of the medical lecturers are passionate about the role of dentists in the management of sleep-disordered breathing patients and represent a diverse mix of backgrounds in sleep medicine.
Faculty members represent a variety of practice settings, such as dental sleep medicine private practices, combined dental sleep medicine/general dentistry practices, sleep medicine clinics, hospitals and universities. Both dental and medical faculty members often have demonstrated leadership in the field as board members of relevant professional associations, editors or contributors to peer-reviewed journals, awarded researchers, and clinic and department directors.
I see you have not only intro courses but advanced, team, and practical courses. Is this designed as a group – do dentists take all the courses before they are ready to treat patients?
Dentists are not required to take AADSM courses in order to administer oral appliance therapy, nor are they required to take the courses in a particular order. For those who are seeking a holistic approach to dental sleep medicine, we recommend that they start with our Essentials of Dental Sleep Medicine Course, followed by the Practice Demonstration Course. Dentists of all experience levels also are encouraged to attend the AADSM annual meeting, which is the premier educational event in dental sleep medicine. The AADSM 26th Annual Meeting will be held in Boston from Friday, June 2, through Sunday, June 4, 2017.
In addition to in-person courses, the AADSM offers Q&A webinars, online modules, practice management support and online study clubs to provide a simple, convenient way to earn CE credits and become more knowledgeable in the field.
What about sleep tests – do dentists get hands-on learning with how to use home sleep monitors?
AADSM courses may provide information about how home sleep apnea testing (HSAT) is used by physicians to diagnose sleep apnea. However, the AADSM does not promote the use of HSAT by dentists as a screening or diagnostic tool.
Many dentists are interested in becoming Diplomats of ABDSM. Do the AADSM courses count toward the required CE and prepare the attendee to take the examination?
Yes, AADSM courses count toward the continuing education prerequisite for ABDSM board certification applicants. Additionally, the AADSM hosts an annual Board Review Course to help applicants prepare for the ABDSM certification exam. The one-and-a-half-day course helps participants understand the scope of the exam based on the weight given to each topic, review journal articles on the ABDSM reading list, discuss mock questions, determine appropriate investigative strategies and develop a comprehensive patient treatment plan.

All of the medical lecturers are passionate
about the role of dentists in the management of
sleep-disordered breathing patients.

Through continuing education and earning dental sleep medicine designations, such as ABDSM Diplomate certification, dentists can demonstrate to physicians, patients and payers that they are dedicated to providing optimal patient care with oral appliance therapy to treat obstructive sleep apnea.

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