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Sleep Solutions

New Center for Dental Sleep Medicine helps adults cope with common disorders

May 2006

by Natalie Gutierrez and Will Sansom

Who would have ever thought that a little snoring could be so much more than just a snag in your slumber? Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, which affect 20 million Americans, have been linked to the impaired ability to think, congestive heart failure, daytime sleepiness, sleepiness-related accidents, hypertension, irregular heartbeat and an increased risk for strokes. Only 15 percent of these people have had their condition diagnosed. Sleep apnea causes sufferers to stop breathing again and again during sleep, and in severe cases could cause death.

Researchers at the Health Science Center and the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, Audie Murphy Division, have established the new Center for Dental Sleep Medicine to research, diagnose and treat obstructive sleep apnea using the latest methods. Health Science Center collaborators are from the Dental School’s departments of dental diagnostic science, restorative dentistry, and oral and maxillofacial surgery, and the Medical School’s department of otolaryngology.

"We are committed to providing education, research and patient care based upon the latest scientific techniques in this field," said David R. Senn, D.D.S., clinical assistant professor in the department of dental diagnostic science. Dr. Senn and Charles Giesey, D.D.S., clinical assistant professor of restorative dentistry, are co-directors of the center, and the third center faculty member is Richard B. Drake, D.D.S., clinical assistant professor of dental diagnostic science.

"We want to apply the latest diagnostic tools, and treat snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea conservatively and effectively," Dr. Senn said. "Our goal is to improve the quality of life for snorers and the people who love them and tolerate their noise."

For more information or to schedule a screening, call (210) 567-1759 or 567-3313.


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