Choosing Where to Get Started with Dental Sleep Apnea

It’s an unbelievable honor to be asked to speak to your peers on any topic.  Last week I was speaking at the Star of the South meeting in Houston, Texas.  I was afforded a three (3) hour speaking slot and the topic was focused on sleep apnea in the dental practice.  The ‘lecture’ was focused on 3 things…
  1. Overview of what is OSA (obstructive sleep apnea).
  2. Overview of dental signs and symptoms.
  3. Overview of dental treatment options.
As you can see it is just a quick overview, enough to pique your curiosity but probably not enough to have you get started Monday morning.  After every speaking event I get a common question – “I want to know more.  Where do I go from here?”  In other words, ‘what course do you recommend?’
That was the exact same place I was several years ago.  I remember it quite well.  I was at a Idaho state meeting and I heard my first sleep apnea overview lecture.  I knew I wanted and needed more.  I knew there was so much potential for my practice and my patients.  I did what everyone else does, I ‘googled’ dental sleep apnea courses.  What I found was that there were way too many choices.  I had to wade through the choices and determine what style was the most important to me.
Who was sponsoring it?  Was it a ‘sales pitch’ or was it a course that I could actually come back and implement into my general practice.
Who was teaching it?  Was this person a ‘full time’ sleep dentist or was this person a general dentist with a sleep component within their general practice.  Did this philosophy closely align with my goals?
You see before I can recommend a training program you have to be able to answer those questions.  In my opinion, you have to find the right teacher.  One that aligns with your philosophy, your practice style, and your practice goals.

Really there are three types of training and education options.  You need to be able to answer what you are trying to accomplish to best choose the right educational opportunity.

1.  Inspirational.  This is where you go to a seminar and get ‘fired up’ about something.  You don’t necessarily learn how to do it, but know that it is something for you.

2.  Scientific.  This is where you attend a seminar and you learn the hows and why about something.  These programs are wonderful to give you the knowledge base and confidence that you know what you are talking about, but do they give you the practical systems you need?

3.  Implementation.  This is where you go to a seminar and learn how to actually put something into your practice.  These programs give you step by step workflow to implementation, efficiency, and increase your case acceptance.

Each of these seminars are very important.  Once you decide what you want then choose a seminar that fits your outcome.

If you are looking for a seminar that will give you a practical implementation strategy to add more of these cases to your practice and have a workflow on how to manage these cases and learn the new language of dental sleep medicine then you should be looking for an IMPLEMENTATION type of seminar.

So here are my recommendations.

If you are looking for a program that fits into the Implementation realm?

This is exactly what Dr. Agarwal and I would like to provide for you with our Sleep Apnea Workshop.   Of course we are very inspirational and grounded in science, but our core focus is making this fun, easy, and profitable for your practice.

If you are looking for a program that is mainly scientific in nature?

If you are looking for a seminar that will move you more towards an ‘expert’ or diplomate status then you should look at the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.

If you are just looking for a program that is inspirational so you can see if you want to get started in sleep apnea?

Then I recommend attending any sleep apnea ‘lecture’ coming to your area.  Sleep apnea is such a hot topic that it is on nearly every meeting agenda.  You could also consider attending a Sirona 3D Summit.

Below you can see my dental sleep medicine team and how important they are in integrating this important service in my practice.

new sleep apnea crew

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