Statement of problem. Many dental patients suffer from upper airway sleep disorders (UASD) that affect the quantity and quality of their sleep. These disorders vary from minor annoyances to life-threatening conditions. Even though dentists can play a role in the successful treatment of these patients with oral devices, few do. This lack of participation, in part, may be due to lack of education. Purpose. The purpose of this study was to determine which North American dental schools include the treatment of UASD in their curriculum. This information may prove helpful to other schools in determining whether, and to what degree, they should teach about UASD and its treatment options. Material and methods. A survey instrument (questionnaire) was mailed to all of the North American dental schools (n = 64) affiliated with the American Association of Dental Schools. The questionnaire consisted of 9 multipart questions. Major categories of questions included the following: (1) Is the subject of UASD a part of the school curriculum? If so, in what department is it taught? (2) Are oral devices fabricated for patients or is the experience only at the didactic level? (3) What diagnostic procedures are required? (4) What types of oral devices are fabricated and what is the success rate/recall frequency? (5) What is the patient source? (6) If this subject area is not covered either didactically or clinically, why not? The data were analyzed by use of descriptive statistics. Results. Forty-three of the 64 schools that received the survey responded. Forty-two percent of the schools that responded are teaching the treatment of UASD with oral devices. There is no apparent consensus with regard to whether to teach the subject, at what level, or to what degree. Conclusion. Even though many dental patients suffer from potentially life-threatening sleep disorders, many of which could be treated with oral devices, fewer than half of the reporting dental schools currently include this area as part of their curriculum. This lack of inclusion is caused primarily by a lack of familiarity with the information available and a lack of available curriculum time.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Oral Surgery