How one New Jersey dentist changed sleep medicine

By | March 4, 2017

Avi Weisfogel was always interested in the power of medical innovation to change people’s lives. By the time he was in high school, he knew that the medical profession was his calling. After graduating from the New York School of Dentistry, Weisfogel quickly established his first dental practice, Old Bridge Dental.

Over the next decade, Dr. Avi Weisfogel put in long hours, building his practice into one of the most prominent dental offices in Central New Jersey. Despite the enormous amount of time that his duties as head of a thriving dental office demanded, Dr. Weisfogel still found time to pursue his passion, medical research.

Over time, it became clear to Weisfogel that dentists’ talents were not being fully taken advantage of. He knew that, for many patients, the likelihood of seeing a dentist over any given time span was far greater than seeing their general physician. While routine checkups and other mundane medical appointments can be pushed back indefinitely if the patient so chooses, things like chipped teeth, cavities or abscessed molars are impossible to ignore. For this reason, dentists are often the ones in a position to diagnose diseases of the head, neck and mouth area before any other medical professional sees the patient.

Weisfogel continued researching in which diseases patients may benefit the most from early diagnosis. He learned that among undertreated or underdiagnosed diseases, sleep apnea is one of the most insidious, with both high mortality and high morbidity in its late stages. Unfortunately, most people are diagnosed with sleep apnea only after symptoms become overt. This is usually in the late stages of the disease, when treatments are least likely to have a large effect.

Having recognized the menace posed by sleep apnea and the unique prospects dentists presented to diagnose and treat it, Weisfogel founded Dental Sleep Masters, a company dedicated to teaching dentists how to recognize and treat sleep apnea. DSM’s seminars and courses became an almost instant success. Many dentists were so successful integrating sleep medicine into their dental practices that they quit traditional dentistry altogether.

To date, Dental Sleep Masters has taught hundreds of dentists the methods of treating sleep apnea and has changed the paradigm of both dentistry and sleep medicine throughout the country.


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