Big News from the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine

A huge congratulations to Pittsburgh Dental Sleep Medicine’s very own, Dr. Michael Fazzini who very recently passed the Dental Sleep Medicine Board Certification Written Exam! What a major feat and outstanding achievement.

To become Board Certified, one must fulfill all of the following requirements from the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine:

  • Licensed dentist
  • Completed at least 50 hours of continuing education in dental sleep medicine or sleep medicine
  • Recommended by at least two board-certified sleep physicians
  • Observed at least 10 hours of operations at an accredited sleep center with sleep medicine medical staff
  • Passed a rigorous written examination demonstrating competency in dental sleep medicine
  • Demonstrated competency in all phases of oral appliance therapy by presenting actual patient cases to a board of dental sleep medicine peers

We are all incredibly proud of Dr. Fazzini for his hard work and dedication to dental sleep medicine. Dr. Fazzini was kind enough to answer a few questions about himself, his interest in dental sleep medicine, and the what it took to get him where he is today, so close to becoming a diplomat of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. Now that he has passed his exam, he has overcome the major hurdle in becoming qualified. Once the board approves Dr. Fazzini’s cases, he will have fully completed the process to becoming Board Certified in Dental Sleep Medicine. Learn more about Dr. Fazzini and get a glimpse of his sincerity, compassion, and ongoing capacity to learn through his comments below.

Dr. Michael Fazzini

1.) Why are you interested in Dental Sleep Medicine?

I became interested four years ago when my friend, Dr. Rob Rogers, asked me if I would like to shadow him a few days in his office. Rob had been treating sleep disorders exclusively in his practice for some years at that time. He told me then that he was interested in putting together a network of highly trained dentists who could offer care for people with sleep apnea and primary snoring. He thought I might be a good candidate to be one of those dentists. I was touched and honored by his confidence in me, enjoyed being a part of the difference his treatment made for others so I decided to give it a go.

2.) When did you become interested in Dental Sleep Medicine?

When I started I really knew very little but through his mentorship, training that took place at venues all over the country and a good deal of self study I became educated about sleep and the different ways sleep disorders are managed by physicians and dentists.

3.) Why was becoming Board Certified for Dental Sleep Medicine a goal of yours?

Very early on. Rob always intended that his associates would be recognized as leaders in the field. Becoming a diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine is the most widely recognized means within the medical and dental communities to communicate the idea, “this person has attained an exceptional level of knowledge, understanding and clinical skill to treat sleep disorders.”

4.) Why do you focus on Oral Appliances versus other treatment options like CPAP?

My focus is on oral appliance therapy because I am a dentist, it’s what we do. That being said, I have an appreciation for and good knowledge of the other forms of treatment for sleep apnea that are in common use today including CPAP. A broad understanding of what oral appliances can and cannot do is key in successful patient care. Not everyone who comes to us for treatment is a candidate for oral appliance therapy so knowing how to go forward with people when that is the case is also part of my training.

5.) Why do you like being a part of a network of Dental Sleep Medicine Practitioners?

For me professionally it provides a network of colleagues who are a reservoir of knowledge and clinical experience. We share successes and trials with each other regularly and benefit tremendously from the cumulative wisdom of the group. By extension our patients are the beneficiaries of these interactions.

6.) Briefly explain the process of becoming Board Certified.

 Becoming a diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine is a multi year process. It involves passing a multilayered challenge.

The first is documenting 15 cases that I have treated in the most comprehensive way, as specified by the Board, and presenting them as a portfolio to be judged. If this sounds easy, believe me when I tell you, it is not. The degree of detail required by the Board far exceeds everyday norms and demands special attention be paid to every part of the process. It is very demanding in its detail and scope. I am working on completing this phase and expect to be done with it by January 1, 2016.

The second requirement is passing a four hour exam testing the individual on all areas of sleep medicine, sleep disorders, pharmacology and treatment modalities. That is the exam I recently passed. Studying for the exam was about a 1-year process that happened in the evenings when I was done with my clinical practice. It was a grind but a necessary piece of putting together the whole package required to become a diplomate.

The final challenge is completing over 50 hours of specialized classroom work and spending many hours in sleep labs monitoring sleeping patients in order to become familiar with sleep testing and how they are used and graded.

 7.) How do you plan on continuing your education as a Board-Certified in Dental Sleep Medicine Doctor?

I am not quite complete yet but I can see the finish line. In the near term my efforts are being directed toward the successful completion of my portfolio. Going forward I will continue to pursue my education related to sleep disorders and work on being well informed as to the continuing improvements in treatments available to patients.

 8.) What do you look forward to in the future in regard to putting your certification and new education to use?

The whole purpose behind the training and the work is to be able to apply my knowledge to helping people suffering from sleep disorders. It has been very gratifying to know that there are people living more productive and happy lives because of what I do. It’s what gets me out of bed every morning looking forward to my day.

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