As more patients turn to their dentists for help with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is establishing rigorous educational standards for clinicians who practice dental sleep medicine, according to the organization.
“It is about ensuring those dentists who desire to treat patients with OSA or snoring are properly trained so their patients are safely and effectively treated,” said David Schwartz, DDS, president elect of the AADSM.
The AADSM Mastery Program was designed to provide standardized education to dentists who want to provide oral appliance therapy for OSA and snoring. It consists of three levels of training comprising 65 hours of continuing education, crafted to protect patients and dentists alike.
“The inherent risk to the patient coupled with the professional liability risk the dentist is assuming is far to great too be fooled into thinking that no additional training is needed,” said Schwartz. “High-quality care is an absolute must, and proper education and training are the only pathways to ensure quality care.”
To ensure that more dentists have access to this training, the AADSM has reached out to all dental schools in the United States to offer an accredited AADSM mastery program. The AADSM recently approved the first dental school to receive this designation.
“I firmly believe that dentists will play an increasingly larger role in preventing medical diseases and treating illnesses such as OSA, snoring, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension. There simply are not enough physicians, but to do so, we need to demonstrate that we are competent to provide optimal care,” said Schwartz.
The ADA’s recent proposed policy on the role of dentistry in the treatment of sleep related breathing disorders did not cover the establishment of educational standards, the AADSM says, nor does it specify educational requirements for dentists who provide oral appliance therapy.
The AADSM, then, says that’s why it has taken on the responsibility of defining and providing the education necessary for dentists who want to practice dental sleep medicine at the highest level.