In 2005, my father was diagnosed with extreme sleep apnea. We were able to provide CPAP therapy for him in the hope that it would help to treat his symptoms. Unfortunately, like some sleep apnea sufferers, he could not get comfortable with the machine. As a dentist, I was determined to find a way to help him, and this motivated me to learn as much as I could about clinical approaches to treat his symptoms.
I already understood the connection between TMJ/TMD and sleep apnea from my residency at the Tufts School of Dental Medicine, so I further focused my training by completing several residencies in dental sleep medicine and sleep apnea through the American Academy of Sleep Medicine; the American Orthodontics Society; TMJ & Sleep Therapy Interantional; and the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain.
As I learned more about sleep apnea and TMJ/TMD through all of my formal training and coursework—and as I became more involved with experts in the field of sleep apnea and TMJ/TMD—I came to the incredible realization that SO MANY of my dental patients share the characteristics of people that may have these conditions. At that moment, I realized that I could greatly improve the quality of my father’s life, as well as the quality of my patients’ lives.