Searching for the Right Continuing Education Courses for Sleep Apnea

I recently read an article in Sleep Review about Dental Schools receiving a failing grade. While this might be accurate, I wouldn’t give the schools a failing grade. What dental schools do is educate dentists to provide general dentistry. However, we can change this failing grade to a passing grade with the availability of continuing education courses. Let’s take a stand and further advance ourselves and our practices by understanding how to take our dental education to a new level of success with continuing education courses.

What Research Says

According to researchers, there is an absence of sleep-disordered breathing education for dental school students. With the increase in a need for proper obstructive sleep apnea treatment, dentists remain in a unique opportunity to screen patients and recommend treatment. While dentists can’t diagnose, they maintain the ability to notice the first signs of sleep apnea, which allows them to refer to a sleep physician for proper diagnosis.

The issue that remains is that when dentists graduate from dental school, they are not prepared for the added services of dental sleep medicine. It has been shown that less than 3 hours are dedicated to OSA and other sleep-related disorders for dental students. And, only a handful of postdoctoral programs are available that include such courses to help improve the offering of dental sleep medicine.

What Needs to Change

In order to further improve dental students’ understanding of all areas of dentistry, we must provide our students with the education they need to better serve their patients. While I don’t have a set answer for how many hours are needed to be spend on the subject of obstructive sleep apnea, there is one thing we do know–continuing education is available.

The availability of continuing education courses in dental sleep medicine allow dentists to continue to advance their knowledge in dentistry. While many dentists will go on to remain in general dentistry, others search for ways to further their practice and services available. This is where continuing education comes into play.

Continuing Education

Are you ready to continue your education well past what you learned in dental school? While less than 3 hours are dedicated to dental sleep medicine in school, there are options out there to help dentists. The biggest advantage dentists have is the opportunity to advance their expertise with quality education seminars and courses from accredited associations such as Nierman Practice Management.

Lead by experienced dental sleep medicine specialists such as myself, we continue to help dentists and their teams advance their practices to offer sleep apnea services. And, while researchers has stated that “without such a component in their academic career, the researchers explain, dentists must rely on courses offered by manufacturers of oral appliances and information gleaned from medical literature and industry meetings,” there’s more out there.

Today, numerous courses are available through accredited associations and led by experienced dentists who are currently practicing within the field of dental sleep medicine. Visit my lectures page or Nierman Practice Management to learn more about your options for continuing education.

4 Day Sleep Course with AACP in San Diego

Hurry! Hurry! Are you ready for a 4-day sleep course with the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain (AACP) in San Diego? I know I am! What better way to learn about dental sleep medicine than on a trip to sunny California! While it won’t be all fun in the sun (we need to learn a lot in these short 4-days, too) I can ensure you that you will leave this mini-residency with more pep in your step because you will be ready to keep pushing through dental sleep medicine and the services available for your patients. Let’s take a look at what to expect in this 4-day sleep course with the AACP in San Diego September 28 – October 1, 2016.

Come Ready to Learn

Yes, this is a 4-day weekend course in sunny San Diego! In this sleep course with the AACP there will be lectures, hands-on workshops and case studies. By completing this mini-seminar you will receive approximately 38 CE credits, but hurry because enrollment is strictly limited to only 25 students!

In this mini-seminar you will pick up the knowledge and clinical skills required to assess and differentially diagnose commonly encountered temporomandibular disorders seen in a dental practice that might impact the success of treatment for a patient with a sleep breathing disorder, such as sleep apnea. You will also gain advanced medical and dental training to successfully treat patients. While learning these specific areas, you will also make progress toward fulfilling AACP fellowship and AGD Mastership requirements. Now that sounds like a win-win to me, doesn’t it?!

Training is provided by both dentists and physicians to increase the scope of understanding, as well as fostering the importance of a team approach to ensure the highest level of patient care possible. Remember, space is limited to only 25 students, so sign up now before it is too late! I hope to see many of you there! If not, please visit my lectures page for more continuing education opportunities. 

Dental Sleep Medicine and Craniofacial Pain Consulting Services

Are you looking for further insight into providing Dental Sleep Medicine and/or Craniofacial Pain and TMD services in your dental office? If you are, then you’re in the right place! I am happy to continue to offer consulting services to further improve the services you offer your patients. As a dentist, it is important to provide your patients with the best services possible. However, sometimes you need that extra bit of help in implementing those added services. That’s where my consulting services will come into play.

Understanding Consulting

You might ask, why you? Well, as an experienced and successful clinician in the areas of Dental Sleep Medicine, Craniofacial Pain and TMD, I welcome you to contact me for consulting information. With a consultation I can further help you and your practice with the implementation of these advanced services. Whether you are a general dentistry office, or you are starting up a specialty practice that focuses on these two areas specifically, consulting is important.

Through these services we can focus on the following information:

  • Systems to identifying and diagnosing patients
  • Developing a network of referrals from your healthcare community
  • Implementation of collateral marketing and educational material
  • Including your staff to make a well rounded team
  • Billing for the office and insurance
  • Any additional educational needs to make you more proficient in diagnosis and treatment

And if you need help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Management and Content Marketing, we can help you get that covered as well!

For more information on consulting services, as well as marketing opportunities, please contact my office. I would be more than happy to help you and your practice to reach your highest potential with extended services.

Get Your Dental Team Involved

When it comes to marketing and your practice, it doesn’t mean you have to do all the work alone—get your team involved! Having your entire team work together to maintain marketing efforts can bring life to your campaign. It may even bring up ideas that you would never have thought of on your own! After all, your office isn’t just you—it is your team, too. So, take a moment out of your day and discuss different ways your dental team can work together to create marketing ideas to further help out your office and reach patients! Here are some ways you can get everyone involved:

Blogging

Yes, your staff can help with blogging! While they may not feel comfortable writing posts, they can create ideas for your freelance writer to expand upon. However, in addition to having a freelance writer create your blogs each week, your staff can also add in their own words and thoughts. Think about it this way. As a hygienist, you might see or hear different things than the front office staff or even you, the dentist. This makes for a unique viewpoint on blogs and information. Same goes for the front office staff. Share your experiences with patients or give tips on how to make the most of their visit or even ways to expedite the form process. No matter what, any information can be helpful! Put on your thinking caps and start thinking of blogs! Before you know it, your whole team will be experts in blogs—now that’s a good thing!

Social Media

We all can be found on social media. You may even see your staff on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram during their breaks. So, since most people utilize social media on a daily basis, why not include them in on sharing information and photos?

Did you take a group photo in the office today? Take a photo with a patient or even of your workspace? Share it! Instagram is a great channel to share photos and show the personal side of your office. Did you attend a lecture or have a work outing? Share! Share! Share! Show your patients that you are more than just a dental office. You can share photos of your office, your staff or even images you create. The great thing about social media is there is no limit to what you can do so include your staff and see what you can come up with!

Ideation and Brainstorming

This is where more fun can happen. Include your staff on the ideation and brainstorming process of marketing. From blogs to social media and newsletters, ask your team to help out. The more information you can compile the better your marketing efforts can be because you may be missing out on information or experiences they regularly experience. Encourage your staff to share their thoughts and ideas so you can continue to expand your office. If your team doesn’t quite feel comfortable sharing their ideas just yet, you can place a “Suggestions” box in the office for them to share their ideas without judgment from anyone else.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started today! By involving your dental team, you are not only improving your marketing efforts, but you are creating a better work environment, too.