ATS is a great place for Sleep Apnea Dentistry

I just returned from the American Thoracic Society (ATS) meeting in San Francisco. This is one of the largest medical meetings in the pulmonary business with over 17,000 attendees and 7000 scientific abstracts presented, it is clearly a hotspot for someone with an interest in sleep and breathing from a pulmonary, or airway perspective. this year Dr James Metz introduced sleep apnea dentistry as a part of this organization. So who is the ATS?

“The American Thoracic Society is committed to increasing public awareness of advances in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine. The Society issues press releases highlighting research published in the Society’s journals and presented at its annual International Conference. It also issues press releases and statements on important public policy issues, such as medical research funding, clean air, and tobacco cessation.” – ATS Website

I have been attending this meeting on and off since 2001 when I started working in the related fields of pulmonary function testing, cardiopulmonary exercise testing and sleep diagnostics and therapy. This has always been a meeting with rich academic yield for attendees and exhibitors alike. This year there were over 601 sessions in the program and 60 of them were on sleep. This is a pulmonary group so the context of the presentations relate closely with sleep apnea and airway, which have been the focus of my career since 1993. Click here for a searchable database of the ATS 2016 presentations and related abstracts.

I was tied to the exhibit hall as usual so I needed to be very selective about which presentations I dropped in on and for how long (in case my boss is reading this). I was really impressed by this debate. Who doesn’t love a great title? Following is a quote from the program



Room 3003/3005 (West Building, Level 3), MOSCONE CENTER


  1. D. McEvoy, MD (Adelaide, SA, Australia) S. Parthasarathy, MD (Tucson, AZ, United States of America) J. P. Bakker, PhD (Boston, MA, United States of America)

Session Description

 Sleep Medicine is at the cusp of major advancements and impact on population health and well-being. However, there are thorny issues that have emerged as areas of controversies that need to be debated. While cardiovascular disease and cancer remain top killers, the role of treatment of sleep-disordered breathing in patients with heart failure, and the relationship between sleep-disordered breathing and cancer are hotly debated. Moreover, emerging treatments for sleep-disordered breathing are rapidly changing the landscape as they disrupt and find their rightful place in the treatment hierarchy. This symposium features “world” heavy-weights in their respective areas of sleep medicine who will “reconcile” their differences while keeping bloodshed to a minimum. Attendees will learn about the mechanistic underpinnings of the interactions between sleep, heart failure and cancer; the clinical implications of such complex interactions; and emerging treatment approaches to sleep-disordered breathing. This symposium is not for the weak hearted.

I got in a little late so I missed some of the talk however I did notice a number of friends of mine in the audience. In particular I saw Dr Ken and Patty Burley in the meeting. You may notice them in this picture.

CPAP 10to1 david white

You might also notice that Dr White represented a 10:1 ration of CPAP prescriptions to oral appliance prescriptions. The big question is Why?. well there was as it turned out no bloodshed in this talk.

I ran into Marc Moeller who is Chairman of the Board and Executive Director at Academy of Applied Myofunctional Sciences, Marc is an old friend and he invited me to a meeting that evening called the “ATS interest group meeting on dental sleep medicine”. See the attached agenda 2016-dental-sleep-medicine-meeting-agenda

Dental interest group ATS

I was really impressed with the attendance at the interest group and the speakers presenting, it was very obvious that Dr James Metz worked extremely hard to bring together some of the most influential key opinion leaders who represented almost all of the groups in the sleep apnea dentistry field.

In attendance among others were, Dr Steve Carstensen, Dr John Tucker, Dr Howard Hinden, Dr Peter Chase, Dr Keith Thornton, Dr Peter Cistuli, Dr Fernanda Alemeda, Dr John Remmers, Dr Ken and Patty Burley, with representatives from many other teams that have been providing innovative and comprehensive sleep apnea dentistry.

I was really struck by the support the ATS has given to sleep apnea dentistry with this new dental group. Both Dr Atul Malhotra the president of the ATS and Dr David Gozal the incoming president of the ATS addressed the group.

“continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is so effective that, once patients are established on it, we rarely consider alternatives, despite the fact that many would prefer a less obtrusive therapy. There is good evidence that some causes of OSA are reversible with therapy, such that following CPAP withdrawal, some patients may remain free of apneas for variable lengths of time, allowing for “CPAP holidays.” Furthermore, one would predict that treatments which are poorly effective prior to CPAP may be more successful after a period on CPAP, especially if they can be tailored to the patient’s particular OSA phenotype.” – Atul Malhotra MD

I expect big things from this multi disciplinary group. I cant wait for next year

Randy Clare

Randy Clare

Randy Clare brings to The Sleep and Respiratory Scholar more than 25 years of extensive knowledge and experience in the sleep and pulmonary function field. He has held numerous management positions throughout his career and has demonstrated a unique view of the alternate care diagnostic and therapy model. He is considered by many an expert in the use of oral appliances like Silent Nite, EMA and TAP to treat snoring and sleep apnea in the dental office. Mr. Clare's extensive sleep industry experience assists Sleepandrespiratoryscholar in providing current, relevant, data-proven information on sleep diagnostics and sleep therapies that are effective for the treatment of sleep disorders. Mr Clare is director of business development for Glidewell a dental solutions company his focus is on dental treatment for sleep disordered breathing.

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