By Tom Bostock

When Dr. Jay A. Nelson opens his doors to Nelson Dental Sleep Medicine at 26907 Foggy Creek Rd in Wesley Chapel, 813-733-4169 on April 8th, it will be to concentrate solely on the treatment of sleep breathing disorders-snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. It is the culmination of a respected 40-year dental career and a passion that begun with extensive postdoctoral training in sleep starting 10 years ago. His new office will specialize only in treating sleep breathing issues.

Today, as his website (sleepbetterflorida.com) notes, “after working with some of the country’s leading authorities in this relatively new discipline,” he brings his impressive credentials to assist patients suffering from sleep breathing disorders”. Dr. Nelson is one of the very few dentists in the country triple board certified in dental sleep medicine. 

He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine (ABDSM), American Sleep and Breathing Academy (ASBA), and the American Board of Craniofacial Dental Sleep Medicine (ABCDSM).  He and his team are looking forward to helping snorers and sleep apnea sufferers in the Tampa Bay Area.

In a recent telephone interview, I asked Dr. Nelson if sleep disorders can be dangerous. His answer surprised me. Many medical experts believe Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia died from complications related to sleep apnea. His CPAP was on his nightstand-unplugged and not turned on.  

Dr. Nelson estimates that over 20% of all adults suffer from snoring, the vibration of the soft palate. Snoring is bothersome to your bed partner, but it can lead to a more concerning condition, sleep apnea, the cessation of breathing for a short period, “about ten seconds or longer,” he said. His site notes “the majority of people who suffer from any form of sleep apnea (about 80%) are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years before receiving treatment.”

Signs of sleep apnea include: loud snoring, waking out of breath or gasping for air, morning headaches, sore throat, or dry mouth, excessive daytime sleepiness, exhaustion, or fatigue, lack of concentration, memory loss, mood swings, changes in behavior, and sexual disfunction, according to Dr. Nelson’s website. 

If you aren’t sure if you are suffering from sleep apnea, Dr. Nelson suggests you take the simple STOP-BANG assessment. It is a simple diagnostic tool developed to determine if you are at risk of having sleep apnea and need to be tested.

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), a machine that supplies a steady flow of air through a mask during sleep. However, many patients cannot tolerate the mask and abandon using it, like Justice Scalia. What Dr. Nelson offers is a proven alternative to CPAP: an oral device. A free, no obligation consultation with Dr. Nelson will start you on your way to a better, restful night’s sleep. 

Dr. Nelson noted there are many oral appliances, custom designed and form fitted to your mouth, available to treat snoring and sleep apnea. The new lightweight oral appliances, Dr. Nelson said, are used in place of, or sometimes in combination with the bulkier and more intrusive CPAP. He offers a wide choice of FDA approved oral appliances to meet each patient’s individual needs and has successfully treated over a thousand patients with these appliances over the past ten years. Since sleep apnea is a medical condition, these devices are covered by medical, not dental insurance. Dr. Nelson’s office works with most major medical insurances, Tricare, and even Medicare. They will do their best to minimize or even eliminate your out of pocket costs. 

According to Dr. Nelson, untreated sleep apnea is associated with many other medical conditions: high blood pressure, stroke, acid reflex, depression, impotence, dementia, and even a reduced life expectancy. With individualized care readily available at his new dental sleep medicine facility, why would you want to take the risk of remaining untreated? 

I have included a copy of the STOP-BANG quiz below to check whether you or a loved one may at risk of sleep apnea.  

STOP-BANG

Snoring? 

Do you Snore Loudly?(Loud enough to be heard through closed doors or your bed-partner elbows you for snoring at night?

Yes ___ No ___

Tired? 

Do you often feel Tired, Fatigued, or Sleepy during the daytime (such as falling asleep during driving or talking to someone?

Yes ___ No ___

Observed? Has anyone Observed you Stop Breathing or Choking/Gasping during your sleep? 

Yes ___ No ___

Pressure? 

Have you or are you being treated for High Blood Pressure?

Yes ___ No ___ 

Body Mass Index over 35 kgm/m2?

Body Mass Index Calculator

___cm/kg ___inches/lb

______ height ______ weight

______ BMI (Body Mass Index) 

Age older than 50?

Yes ___ No ___

Neck size large? (Measured around the Adams apple)

Is your shirt collar 16 inches or larger?

Results for the general population:

Yes to 0–2 questions–Low Risk

Yes to 3—4 questions–Intermediate Risk

Gender = Male / Female

Yes to 5–6 questions–High Risk

With the prevalence of sleep apnea estimated at over 22 million people in the United States, it is good to know that help for your sleep breathing disorder is as close as your telephone. Call Dr. Nelson at Nelson Dental Sleep Medicine today and sleep better tomorrow! (813) 733-4169. Or visit them on the internet: www.SleepBetterFlorida.com. Conveniently located from anywhere in the Tampa Bay area! 

Office Hours:

Monday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday: 7:00 am – 3:00 pm
Wednesday: 7:00 am – 1:00 pm
Thursday: 7:00 am – 3:00 pm

“We welcome patients from Wesley Chapel, Lutz, New Tampa and all of Tampa Bay to visit our new Dental Sleep Medicine office at 26907 Foggy Creek Road, Wesley Chapel, FL 33544”