Dentist’s device helps those with sleep apnea

Has offices in Greenwich, Rockefeller Plaza

While not life-threatening, mild to moderate sleep apnea should be treated, as the condition can detract from dental health, according to Dr. Kenneth Young, D.D.S.

Dr. Kenneth Young displays a device he says can help those suffering from sleep apnea. — Miggs Burroughs Photo

Dr. Kenneth Young displays a device he says can help those suffering from sleep apnea. — Miggs Burroughs Photo

Young, a cosmetic and restorative dentist, for decades has cared for patients from around the world at his office in Rockefeller Plaza and recently opened a second office at 18 Field Point Road in Greenwich.

Young regularly diagnoses potential sleep apnea in patients with symptoms such as disturbed sleep and snoring. Oral examination usually reveals irritation and enlargement of the soft palate. Physical exam of neck size and muscle tone also reveals common causes of airway compromise. If indicated he refers them to a pulmonologist. Without treatment these patients suffer from constriction of their airways during sleep, a dangerous situation. Some patients may require treatment involving the wearing of a mask covering the nose and mouth at night. However, mild to moderate conditions have often been ignored. But they can and should be remedied with a simple device much like a retainer or a night guard that repositions the mouth to prevent airway constriction and allow free breathing during sleep.

About three years ago, when Young recommended that a patient with mild sleep apnea see a specialist to obtain a sleep guard, the patient suggested that Dr. Young supply the appliance himself. Intrigued, Young undertook special training in sleep apnea and its solutions, in order to provide this service to patients. He subsequently became a member of the American Association of Physiological Medicine and Dentistry (AAPMD), and regularly prescribes devices for patients who exhibit the signs of mild to moderate sleep apnea.

Among its side effects, mouth breathing dries out the protective saliva and causes tooth decay and bad breath, Young points out. Dentists are in the position of being able to look for and discover signs of sleep apnea during their routine examinations, and, when appropriate, they alert patients to the need for treatment.

In addition to his membership in AADT, Young is a member of the American Dental Association, The New York State Dental Association, the Manhattan Dental Society and the American College of Dentistry. He is also a member of the Delta Sigma Delta Fraternity, the oldest and largest international dental fraternity, and he serves as an aesthetics consultant for the Manhattan Dental Forum, which reviews case studies and aesthetic and restorative concepts.

His Greenwich office can be reached by phone at 203 861-7388.

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