Rueda receives FEO award, will treat sleep disorder patients

Luis Rueda, D.D.S., M.S.D., received a Faculty Enhancement Opportunity Award (FEO) from the University of Florida during the Fall 2011 award cycle. Rueda, an assistant professor in the Department of Restorative Dental Sciences Division of Prosthodontics, received $25,000 so he could pursue oral appliance therapy training to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) disorders.

“I have a strong interest in developing my clinical skills to be able to treat patients with OSA which would add this patient treatment service in the college’s Faculty Practice,” Rueda said.

OSA is a disease that involves the upper respiratory system; the breathing airway collapses during sleep resulting in reduced airflow or even total airflow blockage. Depending on the severity of the disorder, it can happen many times during sleep, causing snoring, gasping or choking. It interferes with the patient’s sleep creating tiredness and sleepiness during the day. An oral sleep appliance is a custom plastic device made by a dentist that repositions the lower jaw to help open the airway during sleep for patients with mild to moderate degrees of the disorder.

Another goal of Rueda’s FEO program is to develop a training program for prosthodontics residents, D.M.D. students and other faculty, to expand their training as well as to provide additional qualified practitioners at the college who can treat patients with OSA. Rueda also plans to eventually establish a collaborative clinical research program with the UF College of Medicine to assess the effectiveness of oral appliance therapy in caring for OSA patients.

“Sleep apnea is an increasingly common problem and I am very pleased that our college will be able to offer this important service to our patients soon,” said Dean Teresa A. Dolan, professor and dean.

After completing training at the Pankey Institute in March 2012, Rueda plans to organize and establish a patient referral service with the Division of Sleep Medicine in the UF College of Medicine, and begin to treat patients at the college in July 2012.

Rueda joined the college in 2001 as a clinical assistant professor and two years later became the assistant director for the Graduate Prosthodontics Program. Previously he was with Javeriana University School of Dentistry in Bogata, Columbia, where served as an associate professor in the Department of Orthodontics (1991 to 1995) and as an associate professor in the Department of Prosthodontics (1991 to 2001). From 1995 to 1998, he also served as an associate professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at El Bosque University, also in Bogata. Before moving into the academic arena, Rueda spent time working in private practice.

He is a member of the International Team of Implantology (ITI) and the American College of Prosthodontics.