How to become qualified in Dental Sleep Medicine
Rest Assured is dedicated to assisting dentists in implementing dental sleep medicine in their practice. Therefore, Rest Assured provides the education and tools for dentists to be qualified and successful.
In 2017, the American Dental Association (ADA) adopted a policy urging dentists to play a role in the care of patients with certain SRBDs. The ADA believes that dentists are uniquely positioned to collaborate with physicians in the care of patients with SRBDs in part, because of their knowledge and expertise in the oral cavity and in oral appliance therapy. Evidence shows that custom-made, titratable oral appliances (OA) can help alleviate the effects of SRBD in adults. While OAs have been generally considered inferior to positive air pressure devices such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), their superior acceptance by patients has shown them to often provide equivalent medical benefit.
SRBDs can be caused by several multifactorial medical issues and are, therefore, best treated through a team approach with collaboration between the patient’s dentist and physician. Dentists should assess patients for suitability of OA upon the referral of a physician, and if appropriate, fabricate and titrate the oral appliances and/or refer the patient to other health care professionals as needed for further treatment.
The extent to which dentists can implement this policy is determined by state dental boards. The ADA encourages dentists to investigate the scope of practice in this area in their state, educate themselves about SRBDs and, where appropriate, begin to provide care to their patients for SRBDs through screening, professional collaboration and treatment.
To date there are no uniform standards on the practice of dental sleep medicine. The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) and others have suggested guidelines and standards. Among the potential qualifications the AADSM suggest, a dentist could obtain the designation of “qualified dentist.” Rest Assured Technologies provides dentists training using the standards below, which when followed, will result in a dentist achieving the “qualified” designation.
Rest Assured affirms AADSM’s general statement on the practice of dental sleep medicine.
To ensure high-quality patient care is provided, qualified dentists treating and managing patients in whom SRBDs have been diagnosed should adhere to standards of care in an ethical and medicolegal framework, including following best practices for informed consent, risk management, quality assurance, and record keeping. Patient care should be delivered within the scope of the qualified dentist’s competence in a patient-centered environment that recognizes the diversity of patient populations. The qualified dentist treating and managing patients with SRBDs should educate the patient and appropriate caregivers as to the etiology of SRBDs according to evidence-based practices, critical thinking, and outcomes assessments. Finally, the qualified dentist should identify known risk modifiers and work with patients and other health care professionals to effectively manage the SRBD through evidence-based practices.
Rest Assured Technologies trains all network dentists to be qualified in dental sleep medicine. A qualified dentist will implement this general protocol for Dental Sleep Medicine (also recommended by AADSM).
- Employ screening tool
- Physical examination
- Provide patient education
- Referral to physician for medical diagnosis
- Collaboration with physician on treatment options, to include oral appliance
- Initiate oral appliance treatment plan
- Selection of oral appliance
- Oral appliance fabrication
- Oral appliance delivery
- Oral appliance calibration within 30 days
- Long term follow-up and management
For detailed learning objectives in the Rest Assured Technologies training program click here.
 “Dental Sleep Medicine Standards for Screening, Treating, and Managing Adults with Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders,” Levine, M et al, Standards of Practice Committee of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, Journal of Dental Sleep Medicine, Vol 5, No.3 2018