Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dental Sleep Medicine Expands Into Higher Education

Dental sleep medicine (DSM) has come a long way since the AADSM’s start in 1991. Founded by eight dentists interested in treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the Academy now provides training for more than 1,800 dentists via educational courses, peer-reviewed journals and study clubs.

Several universities have begun addressing the need for DSM education as well.

AADSM members Leopoldo Correa, BDS, and Noshir Mehta, DMD, MDS, MS, launched an innovative new DSM program at Tufts University in Boston, MA this past fall.

An article in the January/February issue of Sleep Review Magazine provides an overview of this exciting new program.

The curriculum caters to postgraduate dental students. These students have dental degrees and are doing advanced studies. They receive both classroom and clinical instruction.

Students learn how to screen patients for sleep apnea and interpret sleep studies. They learn how to fit and adjust oral appliances, and examine the pros and cons of different appliances.

There are more than 18 million Americans suffering from sleep apnea. Many of them do not know they have the disease. Dentists see their patients on a regular basis, so it is convenient for them to screen for sleep apnea. This screening ensures that more OSA patients get the treatment they need for a healthy life.

Dr. Correa explained that there are still not enough dentists trained in DSM to meet the patient demand. The course was designed to address that gap.

He explained why many dentists decide to learn DSM.

“Dental sleep medicine is a rapidly expanding field where the dentist has an immediate and direct effect on the overall health of the patient,” said Dr. Correa. “It is one of the growing number of examples where a medical and a dental practitioner can work together to benefit the patient more than either one alone.”

So far, the program has been well received. Tufts University will offer a new mini-residency program this April.

Image by: UBC Library Graphics

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.