3 Pitfalls of Sleep Apnea Training to Avoid


Are you confused about how and where to get started in adding the growing trend of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) therapy into your practice?

Well you are not alone.  There are literally hundreds of choices, camps, philosophies, theories, etc out there.  Each have their place and are the right fit for different individuals.

In this post I would like to share with you 3 common pitfalls to avoid when taking OSA education.

Sales Pitches for Equipment

You don’t need any equipment to provide oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea in your practice.  In fact, you already have everything you need to get started in your practice.

Many sleep apnea seminars are driven by ‘back of the room’ sales.  Typically the message of the seminar is how you need whatever they are selling to avoid making mistakes (the classic ‘scare tactic’) and/or how you can’t grow a sleep component without it.

These seminars are hard to resist due to their low registration fee.  Just go into it to learn the information and not necessarily fall for the sales pitch on equipment.

*** It’s important for me to say that these equipments, software, etc do play a role in the sleep apnea practice, it’s just my opinion that you don’t need any of that to get started.  My belief is prove the concept works in your practice and then add these ancillary items as you progress in your journey.  And yes this includes my favorite technology CBCT imaging – you don’t need CBCT to provide sleep apnea therapy. ***

Who is the Educator

Do you remember your favorite teacher from grade school, college, and even professional school.  It wasn’t that this person was telling you something that no one else knew, but they resonated with you unlike anyone before.

I am a firm believer that how successful an education program is very dependent on how well you connect with the speaker.  After all, their message should be biased to their personality and practice style.

But the question is does their personality and practice style match yours?  Ultimately there are 3 types of sleep apnea speakers you will learn from.

  1. Dedicated Sleep Practice.  This speaker has achieved ‘nirvana’.  Their practice is vast majority treating sleep apnea.  If this is your goal then this is the type of speaker you should look for and continue to learn from.
  2. Fee For Service Practice.  This speaker maintains a practice where the patients pay out of pocket for their treatment regardless of dental and/or medical insurance.  If your practice is built this way (I am jealous by the way) then you should look for this type of seminar leader.
  3. Insurance Dependent Practice.  This speaker likely participates with dental insurance networks or at a minimum accepts assignment of benefits.  When it comes to sleep apnea this practice likely relies heavily on medical insurance to drive patient acceptance.

Ultimately, we are attracted to those who resonate with our own way of life.  Your ability to maximize your learning and implementation will vary greatly if you choose the right seminar leader.

Role of Dental Team

Let me tell you from personal experience – sleep apnea therapy will not be nearly as successful and/or fun without team involvement.

There are so many moving parts with sleep – awareness, diagnosis, physician coordination, medical billing, treatment, follow up, and more – that without team involvement you success will be greatly limited.

When choosing your education path be sure to look for seminars/workshops that are also geared towards the individual components of the dental team – front office, assistant, and hygiene.

So there you have it – 3 pitfalls to avoid when choosing sleep apnea training for the dental practice.

  1. Sales pitches for equipment
  2. Who is the educator
  3. role of the dental team

Sleep apnea therapy has the potential to bring a life saving component to your dental practice that is also financially rewarding.  Don’t miss an opportunity to add this wonderful treatment to your practice.

I’d like to invite you to consider attending one of our sleep apnea training seminars and/or workshops.

  • Sleep 101.  This 2 day lecture seminar, led by Dr. Erin Elliott,  is geared as an introduction to implementation of sleep apnea therapy for the entire dental team.  It is ideal for those who are absolutely new to sleep apnea and also for those who have taken programs but need to get the rest of their team on board.
  • Sleep Apnea in the CEREC Practice.  This 2/3 day hands-on workshop, led by Dr. Tarun Agarwal, is geared towards the CEREC owner looking for a deep dive into sleep apnea implementation.  This workshop includes dedicated hands-on medical billing training for front office and hands-on CEREC training for dental assistants.

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