While subject to change each year, the following prerequisites must be met in order to sit for the certification exam. Please check back in Spring 2019 for prerequisite information for the 2019 exam.

Dental License with Expiration Date

Each applicant must provide a copy of their current dental license with expiration date. If the dental license expires before the examination date, a renewed copy of the dental license is required and must be submitted to ABDSM before it expires. Applicants cannot sit for the exam without proof of a current valid dental license.

Continuing Education

Applicants must submit documentation to verify that they have earned at least fifty (50) continuing education (CE) credit hours within the three (3) years prior to the application deadline. A maximum of fifteen (15) credit hours may be earned between the application deadline and February 12, 2018. Therefore, documentation to verify a minimum of thirty-five (35) credit hours must be submitted with the application. Applicants who do not submit documentation of the full fifty (50) credit hours along with their application will be required to submit CE verification upon completion of each additional course, but prior to February 12, 2018. Failure to verify the remaining balance of CE credit hours will result in the revocation of the approved application and the applicant will not be able to sit for the exam.

ABDSM accepts only ADA CERP recognized or AGD PACE approved continuing education credits in dental sleep medicine or sleep medicine provided by a non-profit organization or accredited university. Up to ten (10) credits may be AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ in sleep medicine. Applicants must be the participant of all submitted courses and not the instructor. Though applicants are encouraged to participate in AADSM educational opportunities, including the AADSM Annual Meeting, this is not a requirement. To confirm that a particular CE provider is a not-for-profit organization, visit GuideStar’s website at and search for their listing. All IRS-registered nonprofit organizations will be listed on GuideStar. To view a list of providers and programs that meet the ABDSM CE requirement, visit the AADSM website at Qualified Dentist Details

To receive credit for CE, the following documentation must be submitted for each course:
  1. CE verification letter or certificate issued by the course provider. CE transcripts of any kind are not acceptable for verifying continuing education credits.
  2. Educational objectives or a detailed agenda that clearly show that the course was science-based education in dental sleep medicine or sleep medicine. If a course includes a mixture of applicable and non-applicable topics, circle those credit hours that do apply.

In order to demonstrate that applicants are furthering their clinical knowledge of dental sleep medicine, practice management and billing credit hours are not accepted. Temporomandibular disorder credit hours are only accepted toward the ABDSM requirement when the course objectives clearly document a prominent dental sleep medicine focus.

Self-instructional and electronically mediated learning activities in dental sleep medicine that are either ADA CERP recognized or AGD PACE approved and provided by a non-profit organization or accredited university may count towards this requirement. A maximum of ten (10) credits from self-instructional or electronically mediated activities are acceptable.

Documented Time in a Sleep Center

Each applicant must spend no less than ten (10) hours at a sleep center within three (3) years prior to the application deadline. This is to be documented utilizing the Observation Hours Template found at and signed by a board-certified sleep physician associated with that particular sleep center and with whom the applicant has worked with in their community. The intention of this requirement is to document that the applicant has experienced direct observation of the operations of a sleep medicine clinic or lab with sleep medicine medical staff. This time must include observation of at least three (3) of the following:

  • Polysomnography (PSG) preparation/set-up with a patient
  • Data acquisition of PSG
  • Scoring and interpretation of a PSG 
  • Clinical interaction of a physician or nurse practitioner with a patient 
  • Therapeutic intervention with CPAP
  • Assessment of results of therapeutic intervention. 

Letters of Recommendation

Applicants must provide letters of recommendation from two (2) board-certified sleep physicians (MD, DO or PhD) with whom the applicant has worked within their community. Sleep physicians must be certified in sleep medicine by the American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM) or American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Letters must be signed and dated within two (2) years of the application deadline. Letters must describe the nature of the relationship of the physician with the applicant and clearly recommend the applicant to sit for the ABDSM examination.

International Certificant and Canadian Applicants

The International Certificant status has been created to allow applicants who are not permanent residents of the United States (including territories) and Canada an opportunity to demonstrate competence in dental sleep medicine.

All of the prerequisites and application requirements for Clinical and Academic applicants shall apply to International Certificant and Canadian applicants with the following exceptions:
  • CE credits must meet all requirements except they need not be ADA CERP recognized or AGD PACE approved.
  • The Observation Hours Template may be signed by a physician who is either experienced in sleep medicine or is board certified in sleep medicine.
  • Letters of recommendation will be accepted from physicians who are either experienced in sleep medicine or are board certified in sleep medicine.
  • Sleep studies may be read and interpreted by a physician who is either experienced in sleep medicine or is board certified in sleep medicine.