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Non-surgical relief from snoring and sleep apnea

That’s a lot of letters to have after someone’s name. But what are they? First, let me assure you these are not my dental school grades…

So, let’s break this down so you have a better understanding of who is treating your sleep apnea and their qualifications to do so.

DDS – Doctor of Dental Surgery – yes, you do need to be a dentist to make oral appliances for sleep apnea. From Dental School, we have a basis for monitoring your bite and preventing difficulties with your jaw joint (TMJ) during treatment. We also get a basic medical training to understand the body’s systems beyond teeth and gums. I practiced general dentistry for over 34 years including sedation and treatment under general anesthesia with an anesthesiologist. It was these two experiences (sedation and treatment with general anesthesia) that really upped my game in terms of my knowledge of medicine.

Now the rest of the Ds:

First off is the word Diplomate (as in someone who has a diploma)

To become a Diplomate of any of the four Dental Sleep Medicine Academies, one common feature is sitting for a multi-hour written exam, usually 3-4 hours long. All four Academies had written exams that I had to successfully pass.

Additionally, each academy has their own specific set of criteria. Examples of these criteria include:

  • So many hours in a sleep lab (watching patients hooked up to multiple channels of equipment, sleep)
  • So many hours in a pulmonology/sleep practice to observe how a medical sleep practice manages patients
  • Treating a specified number of patients and presenting documented results
  • Completing a program of over 100 hours of coursework in dental sleep medicine
  • Coursework for preventing, diagnosing and treatment TMJ issues
  • Completing an oral examination by several doctors machine-gunning you with questions over a 2-3 hour period

There are many dentists who have achieved Diplomate status in a single academy. There are some who have achieved it in two academies. I was the 6th dentist in the country to achieve three. I was the 1st (and currently only) dentist to have the Grand Slam of all four Diplomates.

  • Diplomate – American Sleep and Breathing Academy
  • Diplomate – Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorders Disciplines
  • Diplomate – American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine
  • Diplomate – American Board of CranioFacial Dental Sleep Medicine

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