Babylon Dental Care, a dental practice serving the South Shore of Long Island for more than 38 years, is proud to announce the transition of one of their hygienists to Sleep Director of their sleep apnea practice.
Michelle Sands has been a member of the Babylon Dental Care team for more than ten years. She has been instrumental in training many of their hygiene team members and previously served as the Hygiene Team Leader. She has always served as a source of guidance and inspiration to her team, helping them determine treatment options and serve their patients to the best of their ability.
The pandemic has had an enormous impact on our daily lives and has caused a renewed interest in how we sleep. Stuck in quarantine, many of us revisited our health and how our sleep ties into it. So-called “pandemic insomnia” became a hot topic and when people looked into potential causes, they discovered that sleep apnea is common, often undiagnosed, and can have a serious impact on your overall health.
Last summer, Philips Respironics recalled many of their CPAP machines that are used to treat sleep apnea patients, leaving these people with no way to treat their condition. These two factors have caused many people to explore the benefits of an oral sleep appliance, the device that Babylon Dental Care has provided for years.
“Our sleep practice has always served many patients, but since the pandemic and the recall we’ve seen a drastic increase in phone calls and requests for new appointments,” said Michelle.
In April of 2021, Michelle received serious news in her own life and was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. “My entire life was turned upside down the day I found out about my cancer,” said Michelle.
Michelle realized that stepping away from her hands-on career as a hygienist was necessary. Fortunately, the increased need in our sleep apnea practice made it the perfect time to transition. Michelle has worked with our sleep apnea patients for many years and finds great satisfaction in helping our patients feel better.
“Our patients come in exhausted. Their partners can’t sleep with them because of how loud they snore, many are in trouble at work because they’ve fallen asleep at their desks, and I’ve even had some patients tell me they’ve fallen asleep while driving. They’re at the end of their rope.”
Obstructive sleep apnea causes the affected patient to stop breathing multiple times throughout the night, and it prevents them from getting deep and restful sleep. Even though they seem to be sleeping for 8 hours or more, they wake up tired and irritated.
The “gold standard” of treatment for sleep apnea patients is typically considered the CPAP machine, which is a mask that goes over the patient’s face and forces oxygen into their lungs. When a patient is diagnosed with sleep apnea, they are nearly always prescribed a CPAP machine, but it’s not a solution that works for everyone.
CPAP machines are loud, bulky, require electricity, and can be difficult to clean. Many patients are CPAP intolerant and quickly refuse to use their CPAP machines, which often means their sleep apnea is left untreated.
Michelle is proud to serve our patients with an alternative to the CPAP machine.
“My patients come in miserable, they hate their CPAP machines, and they’re suffering. The machine blows in their face and makes them uncomfortable, and many patients suffer from sinus infections as a side effect of the machine,” said Michelle. “Our oral sleep appliance requires no electricity and can fit in your pocket. Rather than forcing air into your mouth, the oral sleep appliance gently opens your jaws to remove the obstruction in your throat that causes you to stop breathing. It’s no more invasive than a mouth guard.”
Many of our patients also come in wondering why they can’t get restful sleep. Our sleep apnea practice is fully equipped to diagnose the condition as well as treat it. Not sure if you should see a doctor?
If you’re always tired, and you know that you slept for 8 hours or more, it’s time to look into a sleep test.
Michelle is excited to focus on our sleep apnea practice and continue to help our patients feel rested and energized. “It may seem like a big shift, but for me it’s not. It feels like a natural occurrence. I’m still doing what I love, just transitioning to a different side.”
About Babylon Dental Care and Silent Night Therapy
Babylon Dental Care has been serving the Long Island community with excellent dental care since 1983 with locations in West Babylon (785 W Montauk Highway, West Babylon, NY 11704) and Patchogue (499 Sunrise Highway, Ste. 13B, Patchogue, NY 11772). Visit us online at www.babylondentalcare.com and call us at (631) 587-7373.
A member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) and the Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorder Disciplines, Dr. Brown started Silent Night Therapy to better assist sleep apnea patients.
Visit our website at www.sleepbetterny.com and call 631-983-2463 for an appointment.