Help create our new dental sleep certification

16 September 2020

The ASA has been working towards developing a protocol for ‘certifying’ dentists who are involved in the clinical field of dental sleep medicine. The purpose of doing this is to encourage uniformity in minimum standards of practitioners holding the qualification. Such consistency of standards will allow sleep physicians and other health professionals working in the field of sleep medicine to be able to identify dentists who possess advanced competencies in dental sleep medicine, and to provide a mechanism, via the ASA website, for consumers to search for and identify such certified practitioners. The view of the ASA is that such certification is essential given the integral role of appropriately-trained dentists in the multidisciplinary team approach required for patients with sleep disorders.

The purpose of an ASA Fellowship in Dental Sleep Medicine (FDSM) is to test knowledge and clinical proficiency in dental sleep medicine. It does not represent a new specialty of dentistry, nor would it grant or imply any legal qualification, lead to any increase in scope of practice, privilege or registration to practise. Rather, it simply recognises those dentists who have successfully completed the certification requirements, reflecting the minimum knowledge necessary to work in the field of dental sleep medicine, as established by the ASA. Many of the ASA’s dentist members have developed strong professional relationships with sleep medicine practitioners working in their local areas. This certification process will look to promote and strengthen such multidisciplinary teams as well as establish credibility of the field of dental sleep medicine.

The story so far

The ASA has an active Dental Sleep Medicine Council which is the only local not-for-profit association representing dentists in Australia and New Zealand who are involved in the field of dental sleep medicine. Members are not only involved in clinical practice but play active roles in education, research and policy formation and are integrally involved in many ASA committees. The development of a certification in dental sleep medicine has the strong support of the ASA Board; the Dental Sleep Medicine Council, which reports to the Board via the Chair of the Membership Committee; and the Dental Sleep Medicine Working Party which reports to the Board via its Chair.

In late 2017 the Board requested that a Working Party be formed and tasked with developing a formal protocol of certification of dentists involved in the clinical field of dental sleep medicine. The Dental Sleep Medicine Working Party has since considered various international models.

The ASA certification will require the successful completion of an ASA-administered examination containing multiple choice question, and evidence of an applicant having achieved a number of competencies.

The evidence could include i) logbook evidence of having treated 15 cases in the field of dental sleep medicine, ii) portfolios of 3 comprehensive cases highlighting complexities in dental sleep medicine, and (iii) two letters of recommendation from medical practitioners. Candidates will have 12 months from the completion of their exam to submit evidence of their competencies.  
 
Get involved

It was clear at last year’s Dental Sleep Medicine Council meeting in Sydney that many members were keen to help develop questions for the certification exam. All ASA members with relevant expertise are invited to contribute multiple choice questions for the examination. Follow this checklist to get involved and contribute to this landmark initiative.

  1. Select an examination topic for your question. Topics are outlined in the examination key topics document. 
  2. Read these guidelines for writing effective multiple choice questions.
  3. Complete a submission template for each multiple choice question you would like to be considered for inclusion in the final exam. Questions should be based on current scientific literature. 
  4. Send your completed submission templates to Marcia Balzer

Once submitted to the ASA, each question will be vetted by a number of experts and any further discussion will be done by communicating directly with the person who developed and submitted the question.

 

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