Expand Your Practice through the Dental Sleep Medicine Mastery Program

Harold A. Smith, DDS


We dentists take pride in providing optimal care to our patients. Dental sleep medicine (DSM) offers the opportunity to provide optimal care to the nearly 30 million Americans who are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Some 80% of adults with OSA are undiagnosed, and up to 50% of patients diagnosed with OSA and treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy are not compliant, creating a tremendous opportunity for dentists who have the appropriate training.

DSM focuses on the use of oral appliance therapy (OAT) to treat sleep-disordered breathing, including snoring and OSA. Dentists collaborate with physicians to provide the best treatment for each patient. It gives us an outstanding opportunity to provide additional services to our patients, while improving their overall health.

There is a growing need for dentists who are highly skilled in this area. Poorly designed, prescribed, and delivered oral appliances expose patients to potentially life-threatening outcomes. While there are various educational courses and seminars teaching some aspect of DSM, there is a great deal of variation in the quality and scope of available programs.

To standardize and enhance dentists’ ability to provide this service to patients, the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) recently developed its comprehensive Mastery Program. It will ensure that dentists have the necessary training and skills to provide OAT to patients with sleep-related breathing disorders, including OSA and snoring. 

The Mastery Program is open to any dentist with an interest in providing oral appliances. It launches in September 2018 and will consist of 65 total hours of learning split into three different sessions: Mastery I, Mastery II, and Mastery III.

Each session will consist of two-and-a-half days of in-person courses and will provide 20 ADA CERP continuing education (CE) hours. Mastery I will provide an additional five CE hours due to the prerequisites that attendees must complete ahead of time. In addition to the in-person courses, dentists will be required to complete clinical work between courses. 

After completing Mastery I, attendees will be eligible to earn the Qualified Dentist Designation. The Mastery Program also offers a new pathway for dentists to achieve the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine (ABDSM) Diplomate status. 

Individuals who complete all three Mastery sessions will be eligible to sit for the ABDSM certification examination. ABDSM Diplomate status has long been the gold standard of dental sleep medicine, and this new program can help dentists fulfill the necessary requirements to achieve this designation.

By creating this standard education program, the AADSM has ensured that dentists have the necessary training and education to show that they are capable of providing proper patient care. 

Dr. Smith is the president of the AADSM and the clinical director of Dental Sleep Medicine of Indiana. He also serves as the dental consultant to the major Indianapolis hospital sleep disorder centers and is on the faculty at Indiana University School of Medicine’s Fellowship program in sleep medicine. As a distinguished speaker and American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine (ABDSM) Diplomate, he also is a Fellow of the American College of Dentists and is an active member of the AADSM, ADA, Indiana Dental Association, Indianapolis District Dental Society, and AGD. He is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Dentistry. Also, Dr. Smith served as president of the AADSM from 2002 to 2004, received the AADSM Distinguished Service Award in 2006, and acted as president of the ABDSM from 2008 to 2010. He can be reached at info@dentalsleepmedicineindiana.com.

Related Articles

Research Trends Emerge at Dental Sleep Medicine Conference

Dentist-Physician Collaboration Fundamental to Dental Sleep Medicine

Long-Term Use of Oral Appliances Can Result in Progressive Dental Changes