It is rare to see a visionary come along who is capable of completely changing entire paradigms in medical treatment. Names like Jonas Salk, C. Everett Koop and Louis pasture are examples of men who had the true gift of vision and the talent of their craft and who were able to harness those things in order to change the face of medicine forever.

Although names that big only come along a few times every hundred years or so, there are still people out there capable of making real changes to medicine, even if they don’t garner quite as much attention as some of the household names of yore.

One of those men is Avi Weisfogel, a New Jersey dentist who has completely transformed the way in which sleep apnea is treated. Many people do not understand the severity and potentially lethality of sleep apnea, which is one of the most serious diseases in the country today. Unfortunately, it is a structural disease, not caused by any particular microorganism but instead caused by structural abnormalities and the head neck and mouth area as well as, in some cases, simply being caused by unknown factors.

However, the patient profile of someone suffering from severe sleep apnea usually includes at least some form of mild structural abnormality of the head neck and mouth area. Dr. Weisfogel’s crucial insight was that these people almost all come into contact with dentists at one point or another. Although not everybody visits their family physician on a regular basis, almost everyone is forced to see a dentist at least once every couple of years. Dr. Weisfogel realized that dentists could serve as a vanguard in the fight against sleep apnea, potentially recognizing the telltale structural abnormalities that so often accompany this terrible scourge.

With this in mind, Dr. Weisfogel founded Dental Sleep Masters, a medical seminar company dedicated to training dentists in the treatment and diagnosis of sleep apnea. The Dental Sleep Masters model relies heavily on the use of oral appliances, a means of treating sleep apnea that has proven to be highly effective in the disease’s earliest stages, when medical intervention is most likely to succeed.