1000 Eleven South Suite 3F, Columbia, IL 62236, US

(618) 281-9739

Hands-on Educational Modules

Why look Beyond the Airway?

Have you wondered if there was "something more" than creating airway volume? What about function?

 We have always said that  there is no I in TEAM….but after a long search, we found it in the A hole. 

A for “Airway Holes”: How providers can influence nasal and oropharyngeal volume

I for “Integration”: How interdisciplinary TEAM treatment creates unparalleled opportunities for health and wellness  

Many of us have taken multiple versions of courses focused on improving airway health….especially and including those of us who treat patients young and old  everyday with guided facial growth, pain and sleep related concerns.  Many of us thought that we had a good grasp on airway function after countless courses and lectures on growing airways and supporting the airways. 

Dr. Darick Nordstrom began his journey in dental sleep medicine before anyone else was even aware of the dental influence on airway function.  During this journey, his comprehensive understanding of "airway dentistry" has rapidly evolved  into a much deeper understanding of what actually controls and influences airway function. (Here’s a hint: It’s not always the size that matters)

For a look “Beyond the Airway” with tools not shared at most airway focused courses, please register quickly.  This course will reflect the most recent and relevant research and technologies while honoring the tried and true principles of human function and physiology.

 Welcome to the past, present and future of airway dentistry.


Beyond the Airway

 Introduction to Course Concepts

Somewhere along the journey of understanding how dentists can affect the airway, practitioners have somehow lost focus on the ultimate truth that neurology affects structure in a way that determines functional ability.  Airway size does not directly correlate with improved function for the lifetime of the patient.   The many attempts that fell short of success of modern medicine to find the perfect solution for sleep disordered breathing have often ignored the neurologic signalling that constitutes the operating system of the body,  

The signalling for airway function must exist before the structural measurements are deemed to be considered the standards for clinical success.  

Dr. Nordstrom and faculty will strive to help course participants understand there deeper truths of neurologic and airway function.

This course promises to provide a deeper understanding of the reflexive and autonomic physiologic systems that influence human function, especially during sleep.   As dentists. we directly this environment through changes in structure and function.  

Welcome to the future of airway dentistry

As Dr. Nordstrom brings forward his over 35 years of researching sleep physiology and applied neurology, he will provide his guests with the most recent, cutting edge and relevant information to assist in understanding  and applying the opportunities in looking beyond the structural assessments of mainstream airway dentistry and into the functional dimension of improving quality of life and solving seemingly unrelated health and behavioral problems.

 Dr. Angie Tenholder will contribute her knowledge and experience as a Diplomate in the American Board of Craniofacial Dental Sleep Medicine.  Her Board certification and experience using ALF Therapy, dental sleep appliances, cranial osteopathy, primitive reflex assessments, sleep biometrics, clinical assessments as well as various helpful technologies to assist patient care will be helpful in assisting Dr. Nordstrom in supporting our course participants.  

 Course attendees are not limited to dentists and osteopathic physicians.  It is also open to physical therapists, chiropractors, MD's and other health professionals interested in expanding their knowledge of sleep medicine

 As always, Jamie will be available to also assist you with any questions or concerns Monday - Friday from 8 am-2 pm CST and can be reached at (618) 281-9729 and/or admin@alfinterfaceacademy.com.


Course outline


Beyond the Airway - The TEAM Approach


Course Instructors:  Darick Nordstrom, DDS.

Angie Tenholder DMD, FAACP,  DABCDSM 


Course objective -  Hit-the-Road-Running Competency through an organic comprehensive learning experience



The critical role of sleep in human development, behavior, health and resilience

Sleep as the most objective window into understanding our patients

History and early explorations into sleep 

Airway-oriented Sleep Therapies (pre)1985 to 2019; sorting out the ‘mythtakes’, the  truths, the gaps, and the rapidly growing need for a more-comprehensive and FUNctional approach

From the Beginning: Embryo to Adult and the interwoven continuum of life:    Developmental milestones Primitive Protective Reflexes, Swallowing, Breathing reflexes; Firing on all 8 senses; Nature’s plan for Resilience in all seasons

The biochemistry of sleep; nature vs. environmental influences

Traumas, traumatic brain injuries, adverse childhood events, neuroplasticity, coping vs. healing; Other common disruptors (toxic exposures, laxity, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, dystonia, etc) and compensations

Recognizing Healthy vs. Compromised Sleep, and its effect on your patients

Sleep as a safe entry point into health/disease conversation

Sleep architectures

Diagnostics and Biometrics

Medical level, wellness, and lifestyle testing: what is really meaningful, how to chose for each patient

Medical, dental, lifestyle interventions:

Sleep Hygiene, Nutritional (insufficiencies/imbalances) and home-based changes 


Dental appliances

Benefits, limitations, complications


Choosing interventions as a team from the perspective of  the whole person; (the as-if test), gaining patient commitment, the question of  practicality for both practitioner and patient

Promising therapies and influential factors

Case studies from our practices including OraLase Technique, NightLase, NuCalm, Purrfect Sleep, Havening

The influence of  Adverse Childhood Events and Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) implications


Putting it to work, starting where you are now

Forming treatment TEAMs (both local and web) and the magic of collaboration