Erika Mason, DDS
For over 30 years, Dr. Erika Mason, built a highly successful general and cosmetic dental practice in Richmond, Virginia. In August 2016, she sold it and has been exclusively limiting her practice to treating patients who suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) with her business called “Sleep Better Virginia”. Osteoarthritis caused her to have 4 separate thumb surgeries, which resulted in Dr. Mason not being able to practice general dentistry anymore thus switching to Dental Sleep Medicine exclusively in the fall of 2008. In 2014, Dr. Mason earned 2 “Diplomate” certifications with the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine (ABDSM) and the Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorder Disciplines (ACSDD), thus separating her apart as one of the experts in the field of DSM being that there were only 35 double “diplomate” dentists in the country at that time. Dr. Mason’s passion is “Sleep and Health”. She has been asked to help create webinars, lecture, consult and teach various companies / organizations about Dental Sleep Medicine. The AADSM asked Dr. Mason to teach part of the Review Course for those dentists getting ready to take their written Board Examination as one part of many steps in obtaining “Diplomate” certification. She was also asked to be on one of AADSM “task forces” to help create a position paper on defining “What are the parameters for a Mandibular advancement Device” based on scientific evidence.
She has had the opportunity to help with the Military Training “Readiness” Initiative of the active duty Military Dentist, to teach and train them in DSM. These dentists then can go back to their Military Bases and provide Oral Appliances for their active duty soldiers. She has been a pioneer in paving the way in helping Veteran’s at McGuire VA hospital to be treated with OAT instead of PAP therapy. These veterans already struggle from PTSD, night terrors and other sleep issue so to expect that they can put a mask on their face to treat their OSA is very unrealistic. This part of her patient base is one of her favorite groups of people to help since they sacrificed for our country to be free, it is her small way of giving back. DSM has a lot of challenges in the fact of being a dentist but working in the medical arena, as well as it is still a new disease that the Medical community and especially the insurance community is still trying to figure it out. Most of those communities do not have a clue as to what dentist really do.
That said, Dr. Mason doesn’t shy away from challenging Insurance Companies or taking on Medicare and fighting for better compensation, better oral appliance rules and regulations. Who would of thought that being a Dentist could result in changing people’s lives, helping them to get a better night’s sleep, making them healthier and possibly adding 5-7 years to their life, with just a little piece of plastic between their teeth?