But one dentist, Avi Weisfogel, had the epiphany that this could be changed. After having founded his own dental practice, Old Bridge Dental, building it up from scratch into one of the most trusted names in New Jersey dentistry, Dr. Weisfogel began having ideas about what dentists could do outside of the realm of traditional dentistry. Dr. Weisfogel realized that dentists represent a huge supply of human capital, capable of serving as a vanguard in the diagnosis and treatment of many undertreated and overlooked diseases. Dr. Weisfogel began a period of intensive research, looking for diseases that could potentially benefit from the expertise of dentists in their early diagnosis and treatment, at a stage when the disease would be most likely to respond positively to medical intervention.
Eventually, Dr. Weisfogel came across the disease called sleep apnea. It turns out that this is one of the most overlooked serious diseases in the country today. Sleep apnea is responsible for thousands of deaths each year. It is strongly correlated with almost every major cause of death in the United States, including stroke, heart attack and even workplace accidents. Dr. Weisfogel immediately recognized this as a potential area in which dentists can begin making a real impact on the public health.
In 2010, he founded Dental Sleep Masters, a medical training program dedicated to teaching dentists the means to treat and diagnose sleep apnea. Dental Sleep Masters relies on a treatment model that is centered around oral appliances, a means of treating sleep apnea that has been proven to be both effective and relatively inexpensive for the patients, creating both positive patient outcomes and great value for those who would otherwise suffer under the weight of this terrible disease. The seminar program has been a runaway success.