How important is quality sleep to your success?

Forty under 40 alumnus helps sleep apnea sufferers escape the mask
Dr. Haissam Dahan, the founder of the Ottawa TMJ & Sleep Apnea Clinic. (Photo by Mark Holleron)

As many as 26 per cent of adults aged 30-70 years have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Men are twice as likely as women to suffer from it. 

Left untreated, this constant disruption of restful sleep increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke and depression. It also makes it exceedingly difficult to be alert and productive through the day.

And yet, many people choose to avoid treatment and suffer in silence rather than endure the conventional treatment. Why? Because that treatment – continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) – involves sleeping with a full-face mask strapped to your head, connected to a ventilator unit that keeps airways open while you sleep.

Many people simply cannot tolerate a CPAP unit. But there is a better way to treat OSA.

Dr. Haissam Dahan and his team at the Ottawa TMJ & Sleep Apnea Clinic are on a mission to educate both OSA sufferers and family doctors about the alternative – a simple mouthguard.

“Only about half of OSA patients need to use a CPAP at all,” said Dr. Dahan. “An oral device is an effective treatment for mild to moderate OSA and can also help with severe OSA for those patients who can’t tolerate a CPAP.”

It’s a treatment option that is much more palatable (no pun intended) for busy professionals and executives who must always be at their best and don’t want to haul a CPAP unit during work travel.

“I’ve had patients come back in as little as a week – they are no longer snoring, they are energized again, they no longer feel groggy through the day,” Dr. Dahan said. “It is amazing how quickly the right treatment can work.”

He decided to pursue this specialized field after his first career as a dentist and continues to operate two dentistry clinics with partners in the Ottawa area. 

But it was a passion for helping people and changing lives that turned his focus to OSA, as well as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

“No other field related to dentistry can have such an impact on quality of life,” he said. “I can change the course of a person’s life, add years to their life. It can even save marriages by dealing with the snoring problems that are often a symptom of OSA.”

To learn more about a better solution for your OSA, visit www.ottawatmjclinic.com.

Tackling TMJ disorders, too

The Ottawa TMJ & Sleep Apnea Clinic also helps patients with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, or TMD.

TMD are conditions that affect the jaw muscles and joint, and may cause frequent headaches and migraines, as well as poor sleep.

The risks of developing a TMD is highest among educated women over the age of 35. Why? Because stress, such as that related to balancing family and career, is a key contributor. Stress can lead to jaw clenching and teeth grinding (bruxism), which puts a lot of pressure on the joint.

Dr. Dahan and his team can treat TMD and migraines with a range of holistic and conservative therapies that include oral  appliance therapy, Botox and behaviourial modification.

Expertise you can trust

Dr. Dahan is a recognized expert on OSA and TMD treatments, having authored multiple scientific papers, been interviewed by leading health and fitness magazines, and lectured at Harvard University, Tufts University and McGill University.