University of Western Australia: New course to put dentists on the frontline in managing sleep issues

Dental health professionals interested in treating patients with sleep-related disorders such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea are encouraged to sign up for a new micro-credential course at The University of Western Australia.

The innovative online course, which begins on 14 February, has been developed by Associate Professor Christopher Pantin, a dentist with a special interest in treating snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea, and the team at the UWA Centre for Sleep Science and is described as a ‘game changer’.

“Research shows that sleep problems which affect more than one in three Australians, cost our economy in excess of $66 billion each year and many of the symptoms become evident in the dental environment, putting dentists in the front line in terms of screening,” Associate Professor Pantin said.

Sleep obstruction problems

“Dentists are uniquely positioned to screen for indicators of obstructive sleep apnoea such as an inflamed airway, a small jaw, teeth grinding and excessive daytime sleepiness, however many don’t have the necessary skills.

“Oral appliance therapies offer an alternative treatment option to CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure therapy, in keeping the throat and air passage open during sleep and are generally a dentist-administered solution.”

Christopher Pantin

Associate Professor Pantin said UWA’s micro-credential course would give dental health professionals an understanding of the patho-physiology, diagnosis and successful treatment of obstructive sleep-related breathing disorders with oral appliances.

The curriculum, which leverages world-leading research at UWA’s renowned Centre for Sleep Science, also incorporates a business module which segues theoretical knowledge into building a successful dental sleep medicine practice.

“There’s a huge sleep science component in our course which has been co-created with industry, with three out of 10 modules focused on what sleep is and how it is measured, things which aren’t taught within dental school and which make our course unique,” Associate Professor Pantin said.

At the conclusion of the course, participants will have six professional development points, convertible to academic credit, a Certificate of Achievement and a UWA Plus Professional Development Transcript, listing all successfully completed micro-credentials.

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