ADA Adopts Policy on Dentistry’s Role in Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Similar Disorders
October 23, 2017
CHICAGO, October 23, 2017 — The House of Delegates approved an American Dental Association (ADA) policy statement addressing dentistry’s role in sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBD), developed as a result of a 2015 resolution calling for the action.
The adopted policy emphasizes that “dentists are the only health care provider with the knowledge and expertise to provide oral appliance therapy (OAT).”
SRBDs are a set of potentially serious medical conditions – snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and others – characterized by disruptions in normal breathing patterns. Metabolic, cardiovascular, respiratory, dental and other diseases have been associated with OSA.
The adopted policy statement outlines the role of dentists in treating SRBD. Key components include assessing a patient’s risk for SRBD as part of a comprehensive medical and dental history and referring affected patients to appropriate physicians; evaluating the appropriateness of OAT as prescribed by a physician and providing OAT for mild and moderate sleep apnea when a patient does not tolerate a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device; recognizing and managing OAT side effects; continually updating dental sleep medicine knowledge and training; and communicating patients’ treatment progress with the referring physician and other healthcare providers.
About the ADA
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 162,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit
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