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.

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 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


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.


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

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

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

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.


Alan Hickey


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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The Attorney General Personally Invites You to Attend the ASBA Sleep and Wellness Conference

Invitation from Mark Brnovich | Speaker at ASBA Sleep and Wellness Conference 2017

My name is Mark Brnovich (pronounced “Burn-O-Vich”), and I am attorney general for the state of Arizona. I’ll be heading to the American Sleep and Breathing Academy’s (ASBA) “Sleep and Wellness” meeting, scheduled for April 21-22 in Phoenix, AZ, and I look forward to seeing you there.
You may ask: Why does a government lawyer care about sleep medicine? The answer is that poor sleep affects so many aspects of life, particularly when it comes to highway safety. Whether accidents are caused by public vehicles or private cars, they often lead to legal headaches and human misery.

A recent meeting with the CEO of the ASBA, David Gergen, along with the Association’s executive director, Alan Hickey, helped to explain the connection between sleep health, public safety, and my job as a public servant. After conferring with Gergen and Hickey, I’ve decided to make a presentation at the ASBA Meeting. Alberto Gutier, director for the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS), will also be speaking.

Officials in Arizona are paying attention to the human toll of poor sleep on the nation’s highways. The job of the GOHS is to develop, promote, and coordinate programs that influence public and private policy by increasing public awareness of highway safety issues. As sleep professionals, you are uniquely qualified to address the sleep component of highway safety.

I’ll be at the ASBA Meeting to let you know our thinking on this topic, but I’ll also be there to learn from you. What policies can we put in place to make Arizona’s highways safer? How can these policies be implemented nationwide? These are valid questions, and I look forward to exploring them with you.

I recently attended a Bob Dylan concert and as Dylan stood there singing “The Times They are a Changin'”, I realized that he was right back then and hes right today. The times they are a changing – oral appliances have a bright future in the field of sleep medicine. The very next day I put in a disk of one of my favorite bands, The Grateful Dead, and if we are all going to “just keep truckin’ on,” I want Arizona drivers to do it safely.

Make sure you register for the Sleep and Wellness conference at

Mark Brnovich | Arizona Attorney General

Mark Brnovich is a lawyer and politician from the state of Arizona who currently serves as Attorney General of Arizona. It’s the largest law office in Arizona, with approximately 430 attorneys and over 1,000 employees.

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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NFL Pro Bowl Health Screening – Only ASBA Dentists Chosen for Dental Sleep Medicine

The Living Heart Foundation and Pro Player Health Alliance (PPHA), with support from the Professional Athletes Foundation and National Football League Players Association, conducted an NFL retired players overall health screening during the Pro Bowl weekend on January 28, 2017 at the University of Central Florida . Only American Sleep and Breathing Academy (ASBA) dentists were selected as dental sleep experts – Dr. Tara Griffin, Dr. Anthony Scianni, Dr. Zach Holder and Dr. Glenn Macfarlane.

David Gergen, Andre Collins | NFLPA Director and Dr. Anthony Scianni
David Gergen, Andre Collins | NFLPA Director and Dr. Anthony Scianni

“When a player‘s athletic career ends, the level of exercise is reduced dramatically while caloric intake often remains high. This could lead to obesity, along with other serious comorbidities,” said Andre Collins, Executive Director of the Professional Athletes Foundation and NFLPA Director of Former Players.

The event was an enormous success that saw over 60 players register and attend. With obstructive sleep apnea being so prevalent among retired NFL players, the dental sleep room was completely filled for the entire duration of the screening which lead to 46 players being found at high risk of having sleep apnea and later being tested for the sleep disorder . Those patients will be referred to and cared for (when medically indicated) by three ASBA dentists in the Orlando and surrounding areas to ensure quality care.

asba, american sleep and breathing academy, sleep apnea
Dr. Scianni and David Gergen attending the Pro Bowl. Seats were covered for the ASBA dentists assisting with the screening

Pro Player Health Alliance teamed up with the Living Heart Foundation to provide additional education regarding sleep disorders. The goal of Pro Player Health Alliance is to provide healthy long term solutions for NFL players with sleep disorders and spread awareness together across the nation.

David Gergen, President of PPHA, has stated that through Living Heart Foundation and Pro Player Health Alliance, they are looking into expanding the program. For more information on how you can become involved in these screenings contact Pro Player Health Alliance, American Sleep and Breathing Academy or David Gergen directly at 602-478-9713 or via email at

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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Julio Jones Supporting Former Players’ Health at Event Hosted by Pro Player Health Alliance

ATLANTA, GA — 45 of 55 NFL players tested positive for sleep apnea during a health-screening event hosted by The Pro Player Health Alliance (PPHA) and the Living Heart Foundation. The Atlanta-based event held was designed to address all facets of player health (not just sleep apnea). Retired NFL players were evaluated for cardiovascular health, orthopedic concerns, and neurological problems before making their way to a sleep evaluation station headed up by Dr. Bill Williams, DDS of Suwanee Dental Care. Dr. Williams, who has been treating sleep apnea for over 20 years, was not surprised by the high prevalence of sleep apnea. “I’m honored to be able to help former players,” said Bill Williams.

“In Atlanta we saw a lot of former players who we will be able to help,” said David Gergen, CEO of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy, Phoenix, Arizona, and president of the PPHA. “Julio Jones and Roddy White came out to support the former players. We brought in home sleep testing equipment and gave it to the players. The results are in and we are already getting oral appliances fabricated. ESPN and NBC were there to cover the event, and it is working well, while also getting better each and every time. Dr. Bill Williams and staff, including Dr. Chad Schalk, Melissa Kremer and Naz Majdi are top quality doctors I know I can trust to provide treatment to the players.” The PPHA focuses on the sleep apnea category, using the star power of current and retired athletes to boost awareness about sleep apnea and oral appliance treatments for OSA.

On Jan 16, 2017, at 6:30 PM yet another sleep apnea public awareness event will take place at Sweetwater Bar and Grill, 2920 Old Norcross Rd, Duluth, GA 20096. “We expect to have Julio Jones, Roddy White, Billy “White-Shoes” Johnson, William Andrews, John Gilliam, Alfred Jenkins, Roy Green, Derek Kennard and Jeff Van Note out and support. There will be opportunities for people to meet the players,” says Gergen. “We will invite the community to come and be a part of it at no cost. The other purpose of this event is to benefit the local fire department. We will donate a free sleep apnea treatment to one of the firefighters who will be in attendance as well as hold auctions and raffles to raise funds for charity.”

For more information email


Pro Player Health Alliance (PPHA) is an organization dedicated to helping former NFL players, through providing testing and treatment options for those who suffer from sleep apnea. Since launching in April 2012, over 400 players have been treated through PPHA’s “Tackle Sleep Apnea” campaign. Also, the PPHA is dedicated to integrating education and raising sleep apnea awareness, in a fun and memorable way. In addition to the campaign, PPHA is dedicated to testing and getting people who suffer from sleep apnea treated in the general public in communities across the country.


Since 1996, Sweetwater Bar and Grill in the Duluth / Lawrenceville area of Georgia has been one of Gwinnett County’s top spots for delicious food, affordable drinks, and a fun staff. Sweetwater Bar and Grill is well-known for its award-winning live music venue, karaoke, and comedy night, plus our friendly poker, dart, and billiards tournaments. We feature two well-stocked bars, nine professional eight-foot pool tables, twelve dart boards, and a full-service kitchen that serves food until 1AM (midnight on weekdays). Game fans can jump into all of the big televised sporting events including NFL Package, or sit back at the bar and enjoy Buzztime Trivia and Poker alone or with friends.

Media Contacts:

Company Name: Pro Player Health Alliance
Full Name: David Gergen
Email Address:


Official press release can be found at:

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 to Speak at SGS Meeting on Working with the NFL for First Time in Five Years

David Gergen will be speaking at the upcoming SGS meeting in Tucson December 16-17, 2016 at the Hilton Tucson East on working with the NFL. SGS sells the NFL endorsed Watermark ARES unit. This is a MUST attend for any dental office that is looking to implement a Sleep Protocol, learn how to increase existing Sleep revenues and learn about how the the NFL ties in with treating sleep apnea in your practice.

Register 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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ASBA makes the Oral Appliance Case in the Halls of Congress

[Cannon House, Washington DC 20515]

Entrenched opinions in the medical community have a way of lingering well past their prime, and so it goes with the continuing bias in favor of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Simple tradition conspires to keep oral appliance therapy underrepresented in the sleep apnea conversation.

In spite of the resistance, The American Sleep and Breathing Academy (ASBA) continue to make its voice heard at the highest levels. Recently, ASBA representatives spoke at the House Congressional briefing for the House Medical Technology Caucus in Washington, DC, September 27th 2016.


Caucus Co-chairs

Hon. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Co-Chair, Congressional Medical Technology Caucus

Hon. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Co-Chair, Congressional Medical Technology Caucus

* List of congressional caucus members

The house congressional hearing was entitled “Innovations in dental sleep medicine to treat sleep disorders”. The Caucus is interested in researching and discovering new treatments for chronic conditions such as sleep apnea. Not only does healthcare innovation save and improve lives, but it also realizes significant cost savings and remains a driver of America’s workforce and economy.

The briefing was moderated by Dr. Elliott J. Alpher Director, the Alpher Center, ASBA Diplomate, ASBA Board of Governors and  Huffington Post Contributor. “As our nation is confronted with increasing healthcare costs, we must acknowledge the epidemic of sleep disorders in America, the huge economic cost to the nation and the role of dentists as a key part of the solution.”

Hearing testimony was provided by the following speakers:

i. TMD overview and its relation to Obstructive Sleep Apnea “OSA” – Dr. Richard Klein DDS, Michigan Head & Neck Institute

ii. What is Oral Appliance Therapy and how it works and Microrecorder to prove compliance in custom oral devices for OSA – Dr. Neal Seltzer, DMD Long Island Dental Sleep Medicine

iii. Working with NFL Greats across the Country – David Gergen, Gergens Orthhodontic Lab, President of the Pro Players Health Alliance

iv. Former NFL Player Personal Testimony – Roy Green, Wide Receiver, Arizona Cardinals

v. Personal Testimony from a Commercial Pilot – Bill Weimer

vi. Non‐surgical upper airway remodeling for OSA – Dr. G. Dave Singh D.Sc. PhD DMD Biomodeling Solutions

vii. Recap and close regarding “Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the “Evaluation of Safety Sensitive Personnel for Moderate-to-Severe OSA” – Dr. Kent Smith DDS Sleep Dallas

Acknowledging that it can be a painstaking process, ASBA officials are educating members of Congress in an effort to share the latest oral appliance facts. With help from Congressional allies, the goal is that Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulators will add language to an eventual proposed rulemaking document. If advocates get their way, that new comments explicitly endorse the use of oral appliances to treat sleep apnea in transportation workers.

By presenting and commenting on the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) of the “Evaluation of Safety Sensitive Personnel for Moderate-to-Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea” [FMCSA-2015-0419] the ASBAs comments as an industry stakeholder will be placed in the ANPRM docket as part of the regulatory development process, with the objective being, every consideration will be given to the comments received.

“If we can get this information to trickle over to other governmental departments, and the transportation industry listens to us as well; that is our goal,” confirms Kent Smith, DDS, president of the ASBA and owner of Texas-based Sleep Dallas.

As it stands now, many of the larger trucking fleets are encouraging drivers to get tested—even mandating it in some instances. However, companies currently institute these rules on a volunteer basis.

With several high-profile fatal accidents connected to poor sleep, many experts believe a federal mandate governing sleep testing and treatment is all but certain. When that day comes, an acknowledgement of oral appliance validity in the text of a rule would be a major victory for transportation safety, as well as a boon to the business of oral appliance manufacturers and providers.

 A Necessary Step

ASBA CEO David Gergen admits that there are no guarantees in the mission to gain the attention of FMCSA bureaucrats, but the recent Congressional hearing was a necessary step in the right direction. The meeting took place thanks to Dr. Alpher’s regular communication with Rep Eshoo. Dr. Alpher serves on the board of the ASBA and is also on staff at George Washington University Hospital.

For the hard-charging Gergen, these connections represent an opportunity to get the word out at the highest levels of government. “Our next goal is to boost awareness at the U.S. Department of Transportation,” he says. “Again, we want to educate them about truckers and oral appliances.”

The connections help, but it’s the efficacy of oral appliances that catch the attention of all who care to listen. “We presented a study [at the Sept 27 hearing] that came out in 2015 that showed that if CPAP was used for a certain amount of time, and oral appliances were used for that same amount of time, the outcomes were identical,” says Gergen. “That was an eye opener for them. When you factor compliance into the equation, oral appliances should be a no-brainer for mild to moderate sleep apnea.”

Fortunately, Gergen believes the lawmakers clearly understood the message, even expressing surprise that oral appliance efficacy was not more widely known. “They were amazed at this information and how it has not been spread around the country,” muses Gergen. “They were shocked about the lack of information. I attribute that lack of information to the CPAP lobbyists.”

Groups such as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) agree that oral appliances are excellent options for mild to moderate sleep apnea, and that agreement, along with ASBA’s considerable outreach efforts, are effectively sending the message.

Another part of that message is the power of celebrity, which the ASBA has been uniquely able to generate thanks to extensive connections, particularly within professional football, America’s most popular sport. Former NFL wide receiver Roy Green also testified at the recent Congressional hearing, and Green has joined other NFL greats in recent events designed specifically to boost awareness among the public and clinicians.

Ultimately, Kent Smith believes the message of oral appliance efficacy will resonate with regulators and legislators, primarily because proper sleep is necessary for public safety. “We must keep our citizens more awake on the roads, and the only way you do that is by giving them more refreshing sleep,” says Smith. “It amounts to a public health crisis, and it really needs to be fixed. Someone dies because of a sleepy driver every 70 minutes.

“This is very serious,” he continues. “Apart from surgery treatment to open the collapsing region, there are only two successful therapies for this—CPAP and oral appliances. If you ignore one of them, you’re putting a large portion of the population at risk. That was easy enough for lawmakers to understand, and I hope regulators will come to the same conclusion.”

To conclude, this campaign was initiated four years ago by Drs Alpher and Klein at a meeting in D.C. at Senator Debbie Stabenow’s (D-MI) office. This was followed up by a meeting with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMSCA), which led to a further congressional meeting. This mission is ongoing and the ASBA will continue to helping level the playing field for OA’a with CPAP and BiPap.

* Congressional Medical Technology Caucus 2016

Federal Caucus Member Baldwin, Tammy D-s2 Madison
Federal Caucus Member Barton, Joe L. R-h06 Arlington
Federal Caucus Member Black, Diane L. R-h06 Cookeville
Federal Caucus Member Blackburn, Marsha R-h07 Franklin
Federal Caucus Member Boustany, Charles W. R-h03 Lake Charles
Federal Caucus Member Brady, Robert A. D-h01 Philadelphia
Federal Caucus Member Bucshon, Larry D. R-h08 Vincenness
Federal Caucus Member Calvert, Ken S. R-h42 Corona
Federal Caucus Member Clyburn, James E. D-h06 Santee
Federal Caucus Member Cohen, Steve I. D-h09 Memphis
Federal Caucus Member Dent, Charlie W. R-h15 Hershey
Federal Caucus Member Dingell, Debbie D-h12 Ypsilanti
Federal Caucus Member Ellmers, Renee L. R-h02 Dunn
Federal Caucus Member Engel, Eliot L. D-h16 Mount Vernon
Co-Chair Eshoo, Anna G. D-h18 Palo Alto
Federal Caucus Member Guthrie, Brett R-h02 Radcliff
Federal Caucus Member Hanna, Richard L. R-h22 Utica
Federal Caucus Member Higgins, Brian M. D-h26 Niagara Falls
Federal Caucus Member Issa, Darrell E. R-h49 Dana Point
Federal Caucus Member Jones, Walter B. R-h03 Jacksonville
Federal Caucus Member Kline, John P. R-h02 Burnsville
Federal Caucus Member Lance, Leonard R-h07 Flemington
Federal Caucus Member Langevin, Jim R. D-h02 Warwick
Federal Caucus Member Lawson, Connie R-163
Federal Caucus Member Lieu, Ted W. D-h33 Manhattan Beach
Federal Caucus Member Markey, Edward J. D-s2 Fall River
Federal Caucus Member Matsui, Doris O. D-h06 Sacramento
Federal Caucus Member McCollum, Betty DFL-h04 St. Paul
Federal Caucus Member McDermott, Jim A. D-h07 Seattle
Federal Caucus Member McGovern, Jim P. D-h02 Leominster
Federal Caucus Member McHenry, Patrick T. R-h10 Black Mountain
Federal Caucus Member Noem, Kristi Lynn R-h00 Sioux Falls
Federal Caucus Member Pallone, Frank J. D-h06 New Brunswick
Federal Caucus Member Pascrell, Bill J. D-h09 Passaic
Co-Chair Paulsen, Erik R-h03 Eden Prairie
Federal Caucus Member Pitts, Joe R. R-h16 Lancaster
Federal Caucus Member Price, Tom E. R-h06 Roswell
Federal Caucus Member Roe, Phil R-h01 Morristown
Federal Caucus Member Rokita, Todd E. R-h04 Lafayette
Federal Caucus Member Ruiz, Raul D-h36 Palm Desert
Federal Caucus Member Ruppersberger, Dutch D-h02 Timonium
Federal Caucus Member Sanchez, Loretta L. D-h46 Garden Grove
Federal Caucus Member Slaughter, Louise M. D-h25 Rochester
Federal Caucus Member Upton, Fred S. R-h06 St. Joseph
Federal Caucus Member Van Hollen, Chris J. D-h08 Rockville
Federal Caucus Member Walz, Tim J. DFL-h01 Rochester
Federal Caucus Member Young, Todd C. R-h09 Greenwood

Source: ASBA publications

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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