THERE IS NO SPECIALTY IN DENTAL SLEEP MEDICINE OR IN SUPPLYING ORAL APPLIANCE THERAPY FOR TREATING SLEEP APNEA. THERE ARE DENTISTS WHO OFFER COMFORTABLE ALTERNATIVES TO CPAP AND SOME OF THOSE DENTISTS HAVE ADVANCED TRAINING.
Dentists who treat Sleep Apnea have taken a major step out of the mechanical world of dentistry and into the fields of physiology and medicine. A very select group of dentists go further and achieve Diplomate Status in the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. Attaining Diplomat status is not the same as achieving specialty a specialty licencse. There are no specialties in Dental Sleep Medicine.
I am proud to be the only dentist in the State of Illinois who not only achieved Diplomate Status but was actually one of the original twenty founding members of the SLEEP DISORDER DENTAL SOCIETY now the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM). I have taught courses to hundreds of dentists and taught intensive courses to small groups of doctors and their teams many who have successfully limited their practice to Dental Sleep Medicine or better still Dental Sleep Medicine and treatment of TMJ disorders.
In 2001 the NHLBI of the NIH published a report “The Cardiovascular and Sleep Related Consequences of Temporomandibular Disorders” This was a natural continuation of the research I had done as a n Assistant Professor at Rush Medical Schools Sleep Disorder Service working under Dr Rosalind Cartwright, the Mother of Dental Sleep Medicine.
I wrote a Guest Editorial in The Journal of CranioMandibular Practice (CRANIO)
“The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute considers the Cardiac and Sleep Consequences of Temporomandibular Disorders ”
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine Recommended in their parameters of care that dentists treating sleep apnea with oral appliances be knowledgable in the field of Temporomandibular Disorders and Management of the TMJoint. As the current Chair of the Alliance of TMD Organizations I believe this knowledge is essential for all dentist treating sleep apnea.
I currently lecture on the common Developmental Aspects of Sleep Apnea, TMJ Disorders, Headaches, Migraines, Chronic Daily Headaches, ADD, ADHD and other behavioral disorders.
There is long history to the AADSM. I was one of 20 dentists in 1991 who was a Founding and Charter member of the Sleep Disorder Dental Society. This was an elite group who not only treated patients but were interested in creating the field of Dental Sleep Medicine. These early members studied and researched this infant field. The pride is similar to the pride I feel as a parent and as a grandparent. I had been a Visiting Assistant Professor at Rush Medical School doing research on jaw position in Sleep Apnea Patients since 1985 and had been treating sleep apnea and snoring since 1982.
I was one of fewer than 100 dentists who were credentialed by the Sleep Disorder Dental Society prior to it becoming the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. There were only 25 of us at the inaugural meeting in 1992. I was the only one with an appointment medical school appointment to faculty level position.
The American Dental Association approved SDDS educational programs for continuing education credit in 1996.
Springer published the first volume of Sleep and Breathing in 1997 which is the official peer-reviewed, scientific journal of the AADSM.
SDDS founds the Certification Program which credentialed approximately 100 dentists between 1998 and 2004. I was credentialed by the SDDS under this program. In 1998 Dr Rosalind Cartwright recruited me to return to Rush Medical School Sleep Service as an Assistant Professor to treat patients at Rush, be involved in educational programs and make Dental Sleep Medicine an integral part of sleep medicine at Rush Medical School.
Rush Medical Sleep Disorder Service, under Dr Rosalind Cartwright was responsible for much of the earliest research into oral appliance therapy to treat sleep apnea and snoring. The first articles came out of Rush on the Tongue Retaining Device form Dr Charles Samuelson who I worked closely with at the Medical School. Dr Cartwright also published the first research on positional treatment of sleep apnea.
The SDDS officially became the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine in 2000 and became part of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in 2002. In that year membership had grown from 20 doctors in 1991 to over 300 dentists. The following year the AADSM and AASM began to run their annual meetings together.
The American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine (ABDSM) replaces the ADSM’s Certification Program for the administration of board-certification in dental sleep medicine. I was among the first group of official Diplomates, of The American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine under this program.
In 2006 the world of Dental Sleep Medicine changes drastically after the AASM publishes “Practice Parameters for the Treatment of Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea with Oral Appliances” in the journal SLEEP.
In 2006, the era of pioneers in Dental Sleep Medicine morphed into the era of active growth of the field of Dental Sleep Medicine. The Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine officially became the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine in 2006. In 2013 the membership of the AADSM surpassed 3000 active members.
In 2013 Cranio Journal officially changed it’s name form the “Journal of Craniomandibular Practice” to the “Journal of CranioMandibular and Sleep Practice” and I was asked due to my history in the fields of Sleep and TMJ by Riley Lunn the editor to write a Guest Editorial celebrating this change. The editorial “TMJ Alas, The Great Imposter, has a Co-Conspirator: Poor Sleep”
Cranio. 2007 Apr;25(2):77-8.