Sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder, is defined by breathing that repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.

With the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine estimating that about 30 million adults in the U.S. have obstructive sleep apnea (the most common type), this September’s American Dental Association’s FDI World Dental Congress will shine a spotlight on what presenters are calling a hot topic.

The ADA Dental Sleep Medicine Conference, in partnership with the ADA Council on Dental Practice, will be held Sept. 4-5, with 14 hours of continuing education credit offered. Over the course of two days in San Francisco, conference participants will hear leading experts in dental sleep medicine explain each point in the ADA policy statement on sleep-related breathing disorders.

Presenters will also reinforce practical wisdom and the latest in medical science, professional guidelines and protocols, said Dr. Steve Carstensen, the Washington state-based co-founder of Premier Sleep Associates, a dental practice dedicated to treating obstructive sleep apnea and snoring.

In 2017, the ADA House of Delegates approved a policy statement addressing dentistry's role in addressing sleep-related breathing disorders. The adopted policy emphasizes that "dentists are the only health care provider with the knowledge and expertise to provide oral appliance therapy."

The adopted statement outlines dentists’ role in treating the potentially serious disorder. The entire policy can be found online at by searching for "The Role of Dentistry in the Treatment of Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders."

"On a day-to-day basis, we’re often the first ones to encounter sleep-disordered breathing in our patients," said Dr. Roger Macias, who serves as general chair of the ADA Advisory Committee on Annual Meetings. Dr. Macias is a huge proponent of the idea that overall health and oral health go hand-in-hand.

The ADA FDI World Dental Congress will be held Sept. 4-8 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Register for the congress and the ADA Dental Sleep Medicine Conference at