More dentists are entering the sleep medicine field by offering appliance-based therapies for patients with sleep apnea. To that end, a new nonprofit has launched to provide dentists with the continuing education they need to treat disordered breathing. The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates that 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea.
SCOPE debuts with the intention of providing dentists with the information they need to treat obstructive sleep apnea.
A new nonprofit organization has recently launched with the goal of providing dentists with continuing education about dental sleep medicine and craniofacial pain treatment. The organization, called the SCOPE (Sleep-Apnea & Craniofacial Pain Education) Institute, currently offers a variety of programs for the educational advancement of dentists nationwide.
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The SCOPE Institute’s mission is “To advance the education and implementation of obstructive sleep apnea and craniofacial pain services within dentistry for the sake of alleviating these disorders within the population worldwide.” In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that up to 22 million people suffer from sleep apnea.
When untreated, obstructive sleep apnea, which accounts for the majority of sleep apnea cases, can result in several serious comorbid conditions, including high blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes, and depression. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway is blocked, usually due to the tongue collapsing against the soft palate, which in turn collapses against the back of the throat.
The SCOPE Institute offers several continuing education courses to help dentists better understand the role of dentistry in screening for and treating sleep disorders. Depending on the course, focus is given to screening for obstructive sleep apnea, understanding the integration of sleep studies into practice, and using oral appliance therapy as an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.
Dentists can also take more practical management courses designed to facilitate the implementation of dental sleep medicine into their existing practice. Focus is given to marketing techniques dentists can use to drive sleep apnea patients into their practice, as well as techniques for effectively billing sleep apnea patients using appropriate diagnostic codes.
In addition to educational offerings, the SCOPE Institute provides shadowing opportunities to dentists with an experienced dental instructor. Dentists can also take advantage of remote mentorship programs and 4-part mini residencies.
Dentists who are interested in the continuing education opportunities offered by the SCOPE Institute can register for one of four continuing educational courses on the Institute’s website. Each course grants a certain number of CEUs that can be applied toward licensure requirements.