Dr. Avi Weisfogel was working as a successful dentist. He had built his practice, Old Bridge Dental, into one of the leading dental offices in Central New Jersey. He worked hard and had developed many lasting relationships with patients, who kept coming back for his effective treatments and positive clinical environment.
Still, Dr. Avi Wiesfogel found time to research ways to improve his practice. One thing that had always nagged at him was the thought that dentists, as trained medical professionals, could be doing more in the way of early detection and treatment of diseases of the head, neck and mouth area. Dr. Weisfogel thought that training himself and his staff in the diagnosis of the most prevalent diseases which were likely to be afflicting his patients was a good way to add value to the patients and contribute to the general state of well-being of his hometown.
In an era before Obamacare, Dr. Weisfogel was aware that medical costs and the cost of insurance often drove patients to put off routine physical checkups and any other interaction with the medical profession for as long as possible. While someone could indefinitely postpone a yearly checkup with their doctor, postponing an appointment with a dentist for a painful cavity or abscessed tooth was impossible. For these reasons, dentists were often the only medical professionals who would see a given patient for years on end.
With this knowledge, Dr. Weisfogel set out to determine which diseases had the most missed diagnoses and, thus, which areas of medicine could most benefit from training dentists to practice in them. After a few years of intense study, Dr. Weisfogel came across sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a silent killer that had long been permitted to run rampant. Over 90% of sufferers didn’t even know they had the illness. What more, sleep apnea is strongly associated with everything from heart attack, stroke and diabetes to fatal workplace accidents. Dr. Weisfogel thought he could change that.
In 2010, he founded Dental Sleep Masters, a program that trains dentists to recognize and treat sleep apnea. The program has been a wild success. Dr. Weisfogel is now widely credited as being the father of sleep dentistry and has improved the lives of thousands of patients across the country.
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