All posts by Alan Hickey

Publisher of Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy Journal the Official publication of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy, the Journal is a clinical and technical publication for dental and medical professionals.

ASBA CEO David Gergen Has a Distinguished Pedigree – By Alan Hickey

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David Gergen and Alan Hickey

The CEO of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy has a clear mission: Educate and spread awareness of oral appliance therapy and sleep disorders to the public, and to the medical and dental professions. Serving as the ASBA’s CEO for the past five years, David Gergen has leveraged the power of athletic celebrity (helping hundreds of former NFL players get treated for sleep apnea) to shine a bright light on sleep disorders and grow the ASBA dental side from 0 to over 1,000 members.

His enormous push in the industry and the ASBA’s massive amount of success is largely in part due to his distinguished pedigree. Gergen is no stranger to elite leadership, coming from a family lineage that has generals and officers in the U.S. military. His family ties also include his grandmother as the first female bank president in the U.S., prominent politicians who have served in presidential cabinets and Hall of Fame athletes in various sports/states. The Gergen family success doesn’t stop there, as clearly seen by his son Johnny’s Minnesota state record for the largest recorded fish ever caught in the history of the state, his daughter Lennon’s successful modeling career appearing as the Mello Yellow girl and television actress in multiple T.V commercials and his oldest son David, like his father, as a state champion in high school football.

I can say with full confidence athleticism runs deep in the Gergen blood. I’ve seen David’s plaque signed by President Jimmy Carter recognizing him as a national record holder in the standing broad jump for the 11-12 year old age group in 1977, jumping 9’ 8 ¾”. That and many other state records he still holds today which have stood for over 30 years. His state championship in the 100 meter sprint is no small feat either. As a state champion football player and coach, he went on to being the only coach in Arizona state history to win a national championship, being presented with a plaque from the Arizona State Governor. Later in 2004, Gergen was presented with the Small Businessman of the Year award. Despite all of his triumphs, Gergen is still a humble person; it took me years of knowing him for him to ever mention any of this to me.

David Gergen running the 200 Meter Sprint
David Gergen running the 200 Meter Sprint

When I thought, “All of this can’t possibly be true,” I was finally able to verify all the stories I had heard after being introduced to his best friends since childhood who he met through Mensa, a special group of children who have high IQ’s- Warren and Will Faulkner. Warren added to his accomplishments telling me, “I convinced him to play with us in the Mormon church league and we took the team all the way to the national championship. David’s shot was so consistent I had to name him the invincible armada, his mere presence gave strength to the weak. David was good for 15-20 points a game and just as many rebounds. Despite being 5’7” he could dunk a basketball. Hops like that are super natural.” Another thing I wasn’t aware of, Faulkners are direct descendants of Edward Faulkner who was commissioned by Brigham Young to colonize Arizona. His loyalty to friends, family and business partners is unrivaled; David even hired Will Faulkner’s son, Skylar Faulkner, who is now his personal assistant. Skylar has said to me, “Working with David Gergen has shown me an entirely different side of success. He is a real winner, and it’s shows through everything he touches. The man has no fear whether it’s taking a business risk, a bar room brawl or defending his girl’s integrity, he’s down for the task. Gergen is the man you want on your team.” This is why when I heard about the hospital projects and the NFL player treatments, I needed to get the word out. Anyone who follows this man will win, that’s a fact. Come learn about how you can get hospitals near you referring you patients during a special dinner at the next ASBA study club with the NFL legend, Earl Campbell.

To register for the next ASBA study club, click here.

Alan Hickey

Alan Hickey

Publisher of Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy Journal the Official publication of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy, the Journal is a clinical and technical publication for dental and medical professionals.

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Revolutionary Program to Integrate ASBA Sleep Dentists Into Hospitals

The American Sleep and Breathing Academy (ASBA) continues to forge new ground in dental sleep medicine.

 

David Gergen and the team will be in Dallas, TX on May 17, 2017 to meet with executives overseeing a hospital chain made up of 16 hospitals regarding a groundbreaking program in sleep dentistry. In addition, the meeting will include NFL Hall of Fame running back and “Prince of Texas” Earl Campbell who will be involved in doing advertisements for the program. The hospitals are now going to, when medically indicated, send for oral appliance therapy (OAT) as the first line of defense in treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

The program, which will be operated by Pro Player Health Alliance (PPHA) and the ASBA, is going to integrate sleep dentists into hospitals. The only sleep dentists allowed to be included in the program by the hospitals will be ASBA members due to the higher standards of excellence that is a direct result of ASBA training. A key component of the program is the process which the dentists will be paid – the hospitals will bill insurance on behalf of the dentists to ensure higher reimbursements. This is another reason why ASBA members will become the top sleep dentists of the country in coming years.

For more information, email David Gergen at gxployer@aol.com or call at 602-478-9713.

Alan Hickey

Alan Hickey

Publisher of Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy Journal the Official publication of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy, the Journal is a clinical and technical publication for dental and medical professionals.

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ASBA Sleep and Wellness Conference 2018 Dates Confirmed

The American Sleep and Breathing Academy’s (ASBA) concluded a very successful 6th annual meeting April 21-22 in Phoenix AZ. This year’s highly anticipated conference, exceeded expectations, with a record number of registrations, as well as a very strong speaker program the conference garnered fantastic reviews from attendees, exhibitors and other industry professionals who attended.

Next year’s conference scheduled for April  13-14, 2018 is expected to draw over 500 attendees. The Sleep and Wellness Conference 2017 exhibitors’ feedback was “overall a huge success”, which in turn has lead to 33 out of the 48 available spots being reserved for 2018. Sleep Group Solutions’ CEO, Rani Bendavid, was thrilled to be able to attend the meeting. Rani Bendavid said, “We sold more product at this meeting than any previous meeting.” “The 15 booths we still have open to exhibitors will go by the end of the month. It’s a good idea to reserve your spot as soon as possible,” says Gergen. Reservations for spots in the exhibitor hall can be made by emailing David Gergen at david@myasba.com or Alan Hickey at alan@myasba.com.

View photos from Sleep and Wellness Conference 2017 by clicking here.

Alan Hickey

Alan Hickey

Publisher of Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy Journal the Official publication of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy, the Journal is a clinical and technical publication for dental and medical professionals.

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David Gergen Planning ASBA Diplomate Dr. Steve Wilk’s 2nd Sleep Apnea Awareness Event in Denver, CO

David Gergen, Demaryius Thomas, Roy Green
David Gergen, Demaryius Thomas, Roy Green

On Jan 3, 2017, a sleep apnea public awareness event took place at ViewHouse Eatery, Bar & Rooftop located South of Denver in Centennial. At a star studded event that saw the likes of Roy Green, Chuck Foreman, Eric Dickerson, Derek Kennard, Karl Mecklenburg and Earl Campbell all in attendance to support Pro Player Health Alliance (PPHA), PPHA CEO David Gergen American Sleep and Breathing Academy (ASBA) Diplomate Dr. Steve Wilk were the stars of the show. Derek Kennard said, “David Gergen does a great job bringing awareness to the players, and doc saves our lives. They are the real MVPs.”

It’s now summer, and David Gergen is back in Colorado planning Dr. Wilk’s second awareness event. “January’s event was rewarding seeing people who truly needed care with their sleep apnea come out, not to mention everyone who attended brought cards and photos for the players to sign. Everyone had a great time and Dr. Wilk was able to reach out to a number of locals who sought treatment for their obstructive sleep apnea.  ESPN and NBC were there to cover the event, and it is working well, while also getting better each and every time. I’m excited for our next event.” says Gergen.

David Gergen coordinates 5-6 public sleep apnea awareness events with ASBA doctors a year nationwide. For more information on how you can become involved in reaching out to your local community with such an event, contact David Gergen at 602-478-9713.

Alan Hickey

Alan Hickey

Publisher of Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy Journal the Official publication of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy, the Journal is a clinical and technical publication for dental and medical professionals.

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ASBA Annual Conference a Huge Success – Meeting Recap (Photos)

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Dr. Kent Smith Presenting in the Main Hall

The American Sleep and Breathing Academy’s (ASBA) 6th annual meeting, the most anticipated academy event of the year, exceeded expectations as registrants overwhelmed speakers and ASBA staff with incredible reviews. The event began Thursday, April 20, 2017 with a spectacular review course presented by Dr. Kevin Mueller, a professor at Midwestern University, for dentists preparing to sit for the ASBA and the American Board of Sleep and Breathing’s (ABSB) Diplomate Exam on Sunday, April 23rd. The review course is considered by previous participants as a must-attend. The ABSB exists to administer a certification program to dentists in dental sleep medicine which is a process that enables them to treat more patients with oral appliance therapy and positional therapy, in a more efficient and cost effective manner.

Congressman Marty Russo, a returning keynote speaker, launched the meeting in the main lecture hall with a compelling presentation about making the case for oral appliance therapy with local government and educating the public about sleep apnea. Megan Cheever explained navigation of medical billing for dentists treating OSA, Dr. Richard Bonato proved compliance in custom oral devices, Cindy White reviewed Medicare requirements for sleep medicine, Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Secretary of Transportation for Highway Safety Alberto Gutier showed sleep apnea as a priority for state government and highway safety, John Nadeau revealed a protocol for reducing time and achieving optimal oral appliance outcomes and Dr. Larry Tilley co-presented with Dr. Bryan Keropian on sleep disorders and the dental patient. Friday concluded with a cocktail mixer including networking with NFL legends and an open bar provided by the ASBA. Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl Champion, Derek Kennard, said, “I love coming to the ASBA meetings. Every doctor I meet is friendly and willing to help. I always learn something new I can take to my football brothers that really help our quality of life immensely. And I can’t forget to mention the cocktail receptions are a blast every time! The guys and I love hearing stories when we mingle with the crowd. And yes, we do sign autographs because the doc’s coming to the meeting to be educated on how to better help their patients’ health are the real MVP’s.”

Saturday, ASBA President Dr. Kent Smith provided his thorough knowledge of working with physicians and establishing yourself as a dental sleep expert. Dr. Paul Van Walleghem explained how credentialing works and what becoming board certified means for the dental sleep medical model. Dr. Neal Seltzer and Gina Pepitone spoke on building the dental sleep dream team and what percent of the practice should be sleep. Dr. Richard Klein displayed TMD and its relation to OSA. Dr. David Singh “wowed” the crowd with his demonstration of non-surgical upper airway remodeling and special guest Dr. Ronald Brown who served as a board director on the American Board of Dental Specialties concluded lectures by presenting dental sleep medicine as a sub-specialty.

image032The completely sold out exhibit hall was filled during the two day meeting. Sleep Group Solutions’ CEO, Rani Ben-David, was thrilled to be able to attend the meeting. David Gergen credited the entire Sleep Group Solutions staff for bringing energy to the meeting and their booth by engaging attendees the entire duration of day one and day two. Rani Ben-David said, “We sold more product at this meeting than any previous meeting.” Dr. Anthony Scianni complemented the exhibitors who stayed to speak with attendees through the end of day two, saying, “It was refreshing seeing many of the vendors remain in their booths until the end of the conference. The topics were so valuable I felt the importance of being in the lecture hall while the speakers were presenting, but it was disappointing seeing some of the booths pack up early. I had questions for a specific vendor, but they were gone. I noticed the companies who had their owners present stayed through the entire event and were more successful because of it.”

The ASBA annual conference is the only meeting for dental and medical professionals alike where NFL legends, congressmen and some of the most successful sleep experts in the country come to share their experiences and knowledge with members who attend. This unique combination offers an outlook on all aspects of sleep medicine from the patient’s point of view to working with local government to promote awareness and recognition of sleep disordered breathing in the local community. Dr. Clint Blackwood mentioned, “The ASBA sets themselves apart from other organizations in many ways, but what really sticks out to me is how they are able to bring an extensive variety of meaningful topics to their meetings. Other meetings have the same doctors presenting the same topics and I’m able to pick out about 5% of the meeting as new information. I can tell the ASBA prides themselves in being on the forefront of the industry, consistently staying on top of and bringing the newest content to their members.”

Click here to see photos of the ASBA Sleep and Wellness Conference 2017

Alan Hickey

Alan Hickey

Publisher of Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy Journal the Official publication of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy, the Journal is a clinical and technical publication for dental and medical professionals.

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Pro Player Health Alliance Formerly Invited to Speak at the Greater Good Fund Board Meeting

On March 27, 2017 David Gergen, CEO of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy (ASBA) and Pro Player Health Alliance (PPHA), NFL legend Roy Jet Stream Green and Dr. Anthony Scianni, DMD, D’ASBA arrived at the Camby Hotel in Phoenix, AZ to present to a Pro Football Retired Players Association (PFRPA) Board. The presentation was intended to provide information about the benefits available to the retired players regarding treatment for their sleep apnea, which was well received and later applauded, but soon turned focus to the new dental program being offered through the “Greater Good Fund”.

For the first time, there will be a plan including consistent coverage for preventative, basic and major dental services for the former players. Due to Gergen’s extensive dental background, the board was interested in hearing how he could assist in improving the value of the program for the players while providing a boost for the Greater Good Fund. Gergen delivered perhaps the most powerful speech of his career. Fueled by his passion to help the former players, David created a plan that would not only save the fund money, but actually put money back in the fund that can be used to contribute to additional benefits for the players.

He also laid out a detailed dental schedule fee that he had helped develop over two years ago with the former Smile Brands CEO, Stan Andrakowicz for the very purpose of providing dentistry at affordable pricing to the players. At that time Gergen did not forsee a fund paying for these procedures, but oh how the times have changed. After Gergen turned the presentation over to Dr. Scianni, Dr. Scianni began by stating, “We all know CPAP is considered the gold standard, but what you probably don’t know is about combination therapy.” Gergen quickly interrupted and proclaimed, “I’m so sick of hearing CPAP is the gold standard. I’m sorry Dr. Scianni but that makes me want to puke. It’s such bull crap. That’s just a sales guy’s slogan to sell CPAPs. That’s like saying breathing on a ventilator is the gold standard of breathing. What you also don’t know is that many people on CPAP don’t reach level four sleep, like my buddy Roy Green across the room. Multiple in lab studies showed he never reached level four sleep, although he did wearing his oral appliance. Let’s talk about the achilles heal of CPAP as well, compliance.”

The presentation was so impressive, the Chairman of the Board, Bob Schmidt, asked David to step out of the room. Gergen came back into the room and said, “I look forward to working with this board in the future – what a great group of guys.” Roy Green came over to Gergen to put his arms around him and said, “The words flowed out of your mouth like magic. Gergen, you pinned me to my chair. I’m extremely impressed and I don’t throw out compliments lightly. Thank you my friend, you were on your “A” game today. We are really going to do some good for these former players and help the dental industry grow.”

If you want to learn about this revolutionary new dental program funded by the Greater Good Fund, come to the American Sleep and Breathing Academy Sleep and Wellness Conference April 21-22 where Gergen will unveil the details of the program. He will also unveil what he has done with hospital chains across the country for dental sleep medicine. I’m going to quote Dr. Neal Seltzer; “David Gergen has done more for dental sleep medicine in the past two years than the entire industry has done in the past 30.”

Register at sleep-conference.com or call David Gergen at 602-478-9713.

Alan Hickey

Alan Hickey

Publisher of Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy Journal the Official publication of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy, the Journal is a clinical and technical publication for dental and medical professionals.

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Sleep Dentists: A Big Hit at NFLPA Annual Convention

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Dr. Anthony Scianni, NFL Great Brenden Stai and Dr. Archie Roberts, Founder of Living Heart Foundation

The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) recently chose Scottsdale, Arizona, to host its annual meeting for player representatives. Along with usual discussions of player wages, benefits, and positional elections, the Pro Player Health Alliance (PPHA), Living Heart Foundation, and Redirect Health offered free health screenings for former players.

More than 100 retired players took advantage of the screenings where they were assessed for body composition, blood pressure, pulmonary function, hearing, sleep apnea, and more. American Sleep and Breathing Academy (ASBA) Diplomates, Dr. Mark Castle, Dr. Dian Olah, Dr. Anthony Scianni and Dr. Kevin Mueller, were chosen to oversee the sleep apnea screenings. They later became known as the “Dream Team” by the end of the event, because they were able to help every player to get tested and referred to an ASBA dental sleep specialist for oral appliance therapy.

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Dr. Rodolfo Ferrate speaking with a retired NFL player about sleep apnea

Dr. Rodolfo Ferrate, M.D., who flew from Utah to assist with the screenings at the NFLPA meeting, explained sleep apnea and its harmful effects. Dr. Ferrate mentioned, “A lot of these players know they have issues with sleep disordered breathing during the night, but many of them simply haven’t been properly educated on how detrimental it can be to their health. These screenings are necessary to not only examine overall health, but to put the former players on the right path to a better quality of life by letting them know what’s happening to their body and showing them treatment options.”

 

For more information about overall health screenings for former NFL players, more information about the ASBA, or how to become a Diplomate of the ASBA, call David Gergen at 602-478-9713 or visit americansleepandbreathingacademy.com.

Alan Hickey

Alan Hickey

Publisher of Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy Journal the Official publication of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy, the Journal is a clinical and technical publication for dental and medical professionals.

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A Rising Star in Dental Sleep Medicine – Dr. Anthony Scianni, DASBA

A year ago, nobody knew who Dr. Anthony Scianni was in dental sleep medicine . In only six months after joining the American Sleep and Breathing Academy (ASBA), he has been elected to the board of the ASBA and now is one of the fastest rising stars in dental sleep medicine. He is the only dentist selected by David Gergen and the Pro Players Health Alliance to treat former pro football players for obstructive sleep apnea in the  New Jersey chapter of the  National Football League Players Association (NFLPA). At the Pro Bowl game, a fan in the stands walked up to him and David Gergen and said, “You are the guys doing dental sleep medicine for the national football league aren’t you?” Gergen leaned in and mentioned to Scianni things like this will  be happening more and more as he continued to work with the former players.

 

The NFL is multifaceted and yet very tight niched. Recently, a 42 million dollar dental program for general dentistry paid for by an NFL fund was presented to David Gergen and the Pro Players Health Alliance to administer and manage. Gergen being in orthodontics and removable appliances (TMD/Sleep) his entire career, knew he needed to reach out to a dental expert. Because of his success with Gergen in the ASBA and the NFLPA dental sleep program, his first thought was to turn to Dr. Anthony Scianni. Dr.Scianni, who is a well respected dentist with over 20 years of experience in general dentistry and dental insurance, served as  an dental insurance consultant for over 8 year right out of dental school.  Gergen instantly knew that this was a perfect fit for the new NFL program. Gergen is always loyal to the former players and his industry – dentistry. So he knew he had to find a way to make sure the fund will be managed and administered properly and at the same time be confident that the former players still  receive their maximum dental benefits. Gergen and Scianni will roll out in April the first ever NFLPA dental program paid for by the fund – up to $2,000 per player annually. Dr. Scianni has be named the Managing Director of Pro Player Health Alliance.

 

A New Jersey native, Dr. Scianni graduated from Rutgers University in 1982. With a Bachelors Degree in microbiology and business, Dr. Scianni entered dental school at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He received his D.M.D. degree in 1986 and graduated at the top his class with honors. Since graduating from dental school, Dr Scianni has followed a tradition of high-quality dentistry with personalized care. His philosophy is to use the latest techniques and technology to help maintain the patient’s oral health.

 

Strongly committed to ongoing professional education, Dr. Scianni participates in many continuing education courses, seminars and clinics. He has attended over 1000 hours of continuing education in implant, cosmetic and restorative dentistry and sleep disordered breathing. He has received advanced training in implant dentistry from N.Y.U. College of Dentistry as well as  advanced training in cosmetic and restorative dentistry from some of the world’s most renowned clinicians. Dr. Scianni is affiliated with multiple dental associations including; the Academy of General Dentistry, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry,  the American Academy of Oral Implantologist, and the American Sleep and Breathing Academy. He is also an expert contributing writer for a local magazine.

 

Dr. Scianni has over two decades of practicing dentistry in New Jersey and relocated his practice, Renaissance Smiles to Colts Neck, NJ in 1993. Through his constant pursuit for perfection, Dr. Scianni incorporates the latest technology and the most advanced techniques to provide his patients with the highest level of care possible. Dr. Scianni and his team are committed to staying up to date on the most recent advances in dentistry and the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. As his general practice grew and through hs treatment of patients over many years, Dr. Scianni recognized that many of his patients had sleep disordered breathing problems that were not being diagnosed or treated by their physicians.

 

Because Dr. Scianni has found it increasingly important to devote more time and resources to the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea which affects over 18 million people and which is largely undiagnosed, he has opened  The Center for Dental Sleep Medicine. If you have any questions about general dentistry, dental sleep medicine or you want to be part of the Pro Player Health Alliance programs, contact David Gergen at 602-478-9713.

Alan Hickey

Alan Hickey

Publisher of Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy Journal the Official publication of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy, the Journal is a clinical and technical publication for dental and medical professionals.

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VIDEO – Learn the Most Effective and Successful Way to Take a Bite, Oral Appliance Therapy

This is demonstrated up close and hands on at the American Sleep and Breathing Academy annual meeting. Register at http://www.sleep-conference.com.

Oral appliance therapy is considered an effective treatment for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The appliance functions by supporting the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway. When utilized properly, it is worn at night and fits like a mouth guard used in sports. The success of the appliance, however, depends largely on the quality of the bite registration taken. While many view the process as an uncomplicated procedure, if it is not done using the correct technique with precision it could negatively impact the treatment.

The late Dr. Robert Ricketts DDS, NMD who was a well-known and arguably the greatest orthodontist of all time, leader in orthodontic instruction as a professor and a noted researcher in many areas of dentistry including craniofacial growth and development, TMJ, orthodontics and esthetics invented what is known as the the Ricketts Phonetic Bite. The Ricketts Phonetic bite may be used for patients suffering from snoring or obstructive sleep apnea and it determines the position of the mandible that creates the so-called sweet spot for patients using oral appliance therapy. Instructions are as follows:

  1. The dentist should instruct the patient to sit upright in the chair.
  1. The dentist should instruct the patient to count out loud numbers 55-75. Notice numbers 5, 8, 9 for vertical opening and 66 for maximum anterior posterior positioning. If you do not get the desired AP with the “ss” sound, you can use the second “s” sound, “sh” to acquire the max AP. The “n” sound in 69 will drop their mandible vertically as well and give you their full natural opening. The “n” sound is a straight vertical drop wherever you’re at in speech; using the word “shun” is another method for obtaining the best AP position.
  1. The dentist should use a round surfaced instrument as opposed to a flat one (for anterior stabilization during the registration) between teeth #8 and #9 to hold that position of the jaw.
  1. Use a fast set bite registration material to capture the bite.

You will always want to start with having the patient occlude their teeth a few times in order to make a mental image of their natural occlusion. Having the patient counting those numbers should give you a feel for the most balanced yet natural vertical opening.

All three types of basic classes of anterior occlusion must open to disclude the posterior teeth in order to allow a person to speak, and when “ss” sounds must be made, at least 1 to 1.5 mm of clearance must be developed between the upper and lower central incisors. Note that saying “s” will not be sufficient; you will actually have to force the sound to occur using it in a word, as seen during the count in numbers that contain the “ss” sound or like with the word “Mississippi”.

Click here to watch the video: David Gergen Demonstrates the Ricketts Phonetic Bite with Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl Champion, Derek Kennard

The amount of disclusion depends on the degree of forward movement of the teeth from centric relation to their “ss” position. These movements define the incisal guide angle and represent vertical and horizontal overlaps of the teeth. Thus, the greater the forward movement, the greater the amount of posterior disclusion and the resultant “s” space – or posterior speaking space as found in the number “66” and word “Mississippi”.

Once again, repeat these steps a few times to make sure you get the same results. It is important to capture the optimum vertical as it is much harder to adjust after the appliance is fabricated. After using this technique, utilize the Airway Metric System by placing the correct jigs correlating with the sleep bite for reference. Lean the patient back in the chair and see if they can snore. If they cannot, ball game over. I specifically instruct doctors to only use the Ricketts Phonetic Bite with NFL players because of the accuracy and rate of success. For example, Super Bowl Champion Derek Kennard’s AHI went from a 72 to 2 on the first try using this technique.

This is demonstrated up close and hands on at the American Sleep and Breathing Academy annual meeting. Register at http://www.sleep-conference.com.

Alan Hickey

Alan Hickey

Publisher of Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy Journal the Official publication of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy, the Journal is a clinical and technical publication for dental and medical professionals.

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Unlocking an Entrepreneurial Mind “David Gergen” by Alan Hickey, Director | ASBA

David Gergen and Alan Hickey
David Gergen and Alan Hickey

Alan Hickey Writes About David Gergen, CEO | ASBA and Their Personal Relationship

David Gergen launched Gergens Orthodontic Lab in 1986. He is a serial entrepreneur, and investor in several other companies. I met David Gergen many years ago in Minneapolis. I had heard stories about him and expected to encounter a Paul Bunyon like character. To my surprise, he was only about 5’7”, but I would not want to be in the vicinity if he swung an axe. What he lacks in height, he makes up for with intensity. The discussion that follows delves briefly into aspects of his personality and behavior in order to shed some light into the mindset of one of dental sleep medicine’s truly unique entrepreneurs.

David approached me, told me he needed an excellent IT guy, and revealed that the old owner of the academy he was involved with had run off with the money. The academy at the time was a couple of hundred thousand dollars in debt and Gergen was cooperating with authorities to get things back in order. That was the bad news.

The good news was that a lot of the debt would eventually go away and Gergen would fund the academy to keep the doors open, which meant no money out of pocket. Better still, the academy had a solid 150 members on the dental side separate from the hundreds on the medical side.

Unfortunately, he could not retain the medical side or offer them anything of value at that time, so he wanted my help restoring it in the near future—making the ASBA a multidisciplinary academy serving both medical and dental sleep professionals. I’m presented with opportunities every month, and as challenging as this was, I said yes, because of Gergen’s reputation as a leader, business entrepreneur and an unnatural ability to out-work anybody.

I told him when my wife finds out what I’m doing, she will think I’m crazy because it was going to require a lot of gratis work, but ultimately for a good cause. After I agreed to join, Gergen said, “Oh by the way, we have two months to plan a meeting. There are already 25 doctors registered and they have already paid the money. We need to do this so they don’t feel ripped off.”

This was the first time I began seeing the true ambition of David Gergen. An ambition to excel is not the only phrase I would use to describe what he does. It’s coupled with a willingness to succeed and an indomitable spirit. Two months later, on the first morning of the conference, the halls of the DoubleTree were filled with attendees. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Now, two years later, the ASBA has almost 1,000 dental members and receives calls daily from medical doctors wanting to join.

I was speaking recently with Dr. Neal Seltzer who told me David has done more to promote public awareness of dental sleep medicine in the past four years than the industry has done the past 25. He described, “Gergen as a “star”. “He’s bringing sleep awareness not only to the public but also to the NFL, congress, attorney general, and senators”.

The American Sleep and Breathing Academy is now thriving and legitimate. The 501(c3) has been filed and we are about to reinstate all of the medical members from the past. This year will be the last year the academy will be geared only toward dentistry. Next year (2018) will be the first year that dental and medical will all be at the conference under one roof, because the ASBA will be a true multidisciplinary academy.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that David’s qualities have brought him a great deal of success. His charismatic persona, rebellious spirit, and his easy-going nature play a big part in it. While the professional societies in the space play it safe and keep growing under the cloak of educational respectability, which although are very important don’t get us to where we need to be as an industry. Someone has to have a vision for where we want this industry to be in 5-10 years time. To experience what David wants to share with our community, please join us at our annual Sleep & Wellness conference April 21-22 in Phoenix, AZ. David will host a panel of like-minded professionals and Doctors who all share in the same vision for dental sleep medicine.

http://sleep-conference.com

Sincerely,

Alan Hickey

Director/ASBA

Alan Hickey

Alan Hickey

Publisher of Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy Journal the Official publication of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy, the Journal is a clinical and technical publication for dental and medical professionals.

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