ProHEALTH Care and ProHEALTH Dental are collaborating to provide top-quality sleep services for patients and employees, so they can get the restful night of sleep that they need. Dr. Lawrence Shulman, Chief of Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine, and Dr. Nojan Bakhtiari, Chief of Dental Sleep Medicine have joined together as the new ProHEALTH Sleep Medicine Team.

A consistent good night’s sleep is more important than you may think. Your quality of sleep directly reflects your quality of life and health. Overall, sleep affects weight, mood and cardiovascular health. Recent studies show that the result of poor sleep is linked to gaining weight and an increased risk of obesity.  Also, lack of sleep can be directly correlated to heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, cancer acceleration and erectile dysfunction.

In 2008, Medicare approved home sleep studies for the diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea making it much more convenient for the patient. There are three primary treatment options for an obstructed airway, including Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy, oral appliance therapy and surgery. CPAP is prescribed by a physician and is considered the gold standard for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, but some patients cannot tolerate the sleeping mask or air pressure through the device. Although CPAP machines are the most often recommended solution for sleep apnea patients, they are not always practical for every patient. Some common complaints include dry nasal passages, skin irritation and accidently removing the mask while tossing around at night. For these patients, we may recommend something different like an oral appliance.

Oral appliances can help manage sleep apnea and snoring without the need for surgery or CPAP. An oral sleep appliance is designed and customized to maintain an open and unobstructed airway while sleeping. The appliance keeps the lower jaw and tongue forward, preventing it from falling backward and obstructing the airway. The appliance is similar to a plastic mouth guard, however, has some additional features. Patients report that they can be much more comfortable than wearing the mask that comes with the CPAP machine. Furthermore, oral appliances are portable and easy to carry for frequent travelers.

About the Doctors

Dr. Lawrence Shulman is the Medical Director for ProHEALTH’s Sleep Center with locations in Lake Success and Bethpage. He has multiple Board certifications in Pulmonary Medicine, Sleep Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, and Internal Medicine. In addition, Dr. Shulman sits on the Accountable Care Organization advisory board and a number of other executive committees for ProHEALTH and Optum. Dr. Nojan Bakhtiari is board-certified in Orofacial Pain, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain. Now the Chief of Dental Sleep Medicine, Dr. Bakhtiari has presented at regional conferences and residency programs throughout the northeast on the topics of oral appliances for sleep apnea, orofacial pain and temporomandibular disorders (TMJ).

Dr. Bakhtiari and Dr. Shulman have hit the ground running and have already led two educational seminars for ProHEALTH patients this year—with more to come. These seminars are the perfect chance for possible patients to learn about the importance of a good night’s sleep. Dr. Shulman and Dr. Bakhtiari discuss all the potential scenarios pertaining to sleep apnea. To stay up-to-date on the latest seminar news please sign up for the ProHEALTH Dental Newsletter!

What are my next steps?

If you received a sleep study in the past three years and were diagnosed with sleep apnea, or you are having trouble with your CPAP, please call ProHEALTH Dental at 516-654-1100 to schedule a consultation. Otherwise, the cause of the issues must be determined, and it is essential to get screened. If you believe that you have sleep apnea, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Shulman at 516-608-2890 to receive your at-home sleep study.

For more information about oral sleep appliances, visit ProHEALTHCareDental.com/sleep to learn about our new sleep initiatives. If you have questions, please call 855-PHD-CARE.