Great Smiles of New Jersey September 2019




Once in a while, you meet a person who makes such an impact that it changes the whole trajectory of your life. Dr. Christian Guilleminault, MD, lovingly known as “CG,” was such a person, not just for me, but for many. The field of sleep medicine has lost a hero, a father, and a mentor. CG was a pioneer and instrumental in the discovery of “Obstructive Sleep apnea” (OSA) and “upper airway resistance syndrome” (UARS) in adults and children. His 30-plus years of research led him to believe education is the key. He traveled the world speaking to physicians (ENTs, psychiatrists, sleep physicians, allergists), and dentists, trying to bridge the gap. treat.” I took this to heart, followed his research, and started applying it to my practice immediately. When my cousin, Dr. Therese Sabater Galang-Boquiren, invited me to have dinner with CG, I jumped at the chance and attended the Chicago Sleep Society meeting. My cousin, who is an orthodontic instructor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, helped organize the meeting where CG was the guest of honor. In particular, I wanted to speak to CG about my son. He had been a colicky baby and didn’t sleep well at all, even as a toddler. He was irritable, not a good listener, and hyper, always going from one thing to the next. He wasn't showing all the signs of sleep disorder, such as bed-wetting, snoring, or doing poorly in school, but He is famous for saying, “Medicine can diagnose, but dentistry could

I knew he was far from okay. When I checked on him while sleeping, I noticed he would toss and turn. I found him in different positions throughout the night, and I could always hear him breathing (but not snoring) with his mouth hanging open. Sometimes, I think he would stop breathing, but it is not like when adults have apnea. His sleep study showed no sleep apnea, so nothing else could be done. Instead of giving up, I took courses and looked for answers, gathering research from all over the world to figure out what was happening with my son. CG’s research at Stanford found that kids do not follow the same track that adult sleep apnea follows. One of the more current conditions CG described is UARS, which is not quite sleep apnea, but may be the precursor to it. While many practitioners are familiar with sleep apnea and have started to look for it more actively in adults, they rarely look for UARS in adults or children. While having dinner with CG, I asked him about my son. He looked at me and then at each person around the table and said, “You dentists don’t know the effect you could have in people’s health, especially the children.” In his presentation, CG explained that if we can identify the symptoms in a child early on, we can treat them, and the child will grow and develop much healthier. As dentists, we can help address this issue in children and adults through orthopedic and orthodontic

From L to R: Dr. Weddle, CG, Dr. Therese Sabater Galang-Boquiren

techniques. If we do it in children, it will have a profound effect on their lifelong health. At this point, I decided to treat my son. We tried a combination of airway- centered orthopedics and orthodontics, and myofunctional therapy. After treatment, the change in my son was undeniable. He was always a smaller boy, but post-treatment, he grew considerably taller. He was able to calm down and focus more, and he was a lot more reasonable. He sleeps through the night and stays in his own bed. We now know children usually exhibit different signs than adults. Instead of feeling sleepy, they will appear more hyper. Any child with ADHD signs or symptoms should also be screened for UARS. As I remember Dr. Guilleminault, his impassioned plea echoes in my mind: “We MUST help the children.” If you know a child who may have these issues, please contact our office.

To your great smiles and better health,

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