By: Vanessa Arico
Dr. Glenn A. MacFarlane is the New Jersey dental pioneer for preventative measures to correct sleep apnea issues as well as oral systemic disease. “Sleep apnea has been linked to anxiety and depression, and cardiovascular disease. Oral systemic disease leads to near every medical disorder in the body,” informs Dr..MacFarlane,, dentist, owner, and Executive Director at MacFarlane Dental Associates LLC in Red Bank.
“A state-wide initiative is underway to integrate my dental practice with physicians at large to work with them to alleviate mass disease through preventative dental measure. Education, information, and cooperation are all key for the success of this far reaching effort, and my office provides all of this,” explains Dr. MacFarlane.
“Unfortunately sleep apnea is a growing concern in families,” states Dr. MacFarlane. “Three types of sleep apnea dominate, of which, obstructive (OSA) is the most common. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night, and often for a minute or longer.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. With each apnea event, the brain briefly arouses people with sleep apnea in order for them to resume breathing, but consequently sleep is extremely fragmented and of poor quality.
Sleep apnea is very common, as common as adult diabetes, and affects more than twelve million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health. Risk factors include being over the age of forty, but sleep apnea can strike anyone at any age, even children. Yet still because of the lack of awareness by the public and healthcare professionals, the vast majority remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated, despite the fact that this serious disorder can have significant consequences.
Untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases, memory problems, weight gain, impotency, and headaches. Moreover, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for job impairment and motor vehicle crashes. Fortunately, sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated.
There are mainly 3 types of treatment for sleep apnea; breathing devices (CPAP), oral appliances and surgery. The goal of these treatments is to restore regular breathing during sleep and to relieve symptoms of sleep apnea, such as loud snoring and daytime sleepiness.
Oral appliances can be used for mild to moderate sleep apnea and loud snoring. These appliances are the most comfortable of the 3 treatment types. They are fitted to your upper and lower teeth, pulling the lower jaw forward, and keeping the back of your tongue from blocking your airway while you sleep. The other 2 types of treatment have stumbling blocks. CPAP devices usually employ large, cumbersome facemasks, while surgery is invasive, sometimes radical, and has limited success. “Oral appliances and other remedies are available through my practice,” shares Dr. MacFarlane.
“Dr. MacFarlane has expanded his dental office and created a dental education and diagnostic center in-house. From there, it will be a full service practice and education canter with the intention of creating overall patient wellness through holistic and preventative dental measures. Longtime and new patients, as well as physicians and other medical professions, stand to benefit greatly from our initiative,” concludes Dr. MacFarlane.