For decades, it was believed that dentists should only practice within their narrow field of dentistry. Unlike general practitioners, dentists stayed within a narrow realm, traditionally only focusing on ailments of the mouth and its internal structures and more information click here.
But one dentist saw things differently. Avi Weisfogel was a successful dentist from Central New Jersey who had grown his practice from a small start up into one of the largest dental offices in the state. Over the course of 10 years, he slowly came to the epiphany that dentists could be deployed in ways that would allow them to treat other illnesses not traditionally within their purview. It occurred to Dr. Weisfogel that many of the illnesses of the head neck and mouth area, which are often times undiagnosed in the earliest stages, when they are most likely to be subjected to effective treatment, could be easily identified and even potentially treated by dentists and his facebook.
Dr. Weisfogel then set about researching all of the illnesses that would potentially be amenable to treatment by dentists that had not seen any significant mortality or morbidity improvements over the prior decades. He also looked for illnesses that were gravely underdiagnosed and had the potential to be fatal. Eventually he stumbled across a deadly disease called obstructive sleep apnea and contact him.
Dr. Weisfogel was amazed to learn that obstructive sleep apnea is undiagnosed in up to 90 percent of those who have it. Its earliest stages may not present with extreme symptoms. But over the course of the disease, things gradually get worse. Eventually, sleep apnea may lead to some of the worst disease states that one could possibly develop. These include heart attack, severe coronary artery disease, dementia and even diabetes. All of these conditions are associated with high levels of mortality and form some of the largest causes of death in the United States today and Avi’s lacrosse camp.
Armed with this insight, Dr. Weisfogel formed Dental Sleep Masters, an organization dedicated to the training of dentists in the identification and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. This organization has been a great success. Many of the dentists it trained have become highly successful sleep medicine specialists, saving thousands of lives.