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Studies Link Sleep Apnea to Dementia Risk

Puccini & Roberge Offer Sleep Solutions

The staff here at Puccini & Roberge are committed to continuing education so that we can offer our patients the latest diagnostic, preventive, and treatment methods in the industry. To that end, Larry Puccini D.D.S. announced he has completed a Continuing Education Mini-residency program in Sleep Medicine at the UCLA School of Dentistry. Dr. Puccini will use his new expertise to treat patients with sleep related breathing disorders, primarily Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and snoring. 

What do sleeping problems have to do with dentistry, you might ask. Well, the two are related.

Sleep problems, such as snoring and insomnia, are signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA is a breathing disorder that is characterized by a partial or complete collapse of the upper airway that causes the muscles controlling the soft palate and tongue to relax. Obstructive Sleep Apnea can contribute to oral health problems (and dental problems can also cause sleep apnea). OSA is a common sleep disorder affecting millions of adults, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. It is characterized by repeated breathing interruptions during sleep cycles. Apneas can be related to weak airway muscles, a particularly large tongue, being overweight, or other risk factors. Apneas can prevent oxygen from properly reaching the lungs. Studies have shown that OSA significantly increases the risk for hypertension, heart attack, stroke and death.

Sleep apnea causes a person to breathe through the mouth. Mouth breathing results in dry mouth and can lead to tooth decay. Additionally, dry mouth can cause plaque, mouth sores, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), and periodontal disease. Other dental problems associated with sleep apnea include TMJ disorders, bruxism (grinding of the teeth), and mouth breathing.

The UCLA Mini-residency program, now in its 10th year, is designed to offer a comprehensive experience that connects the medical and dental aspects of this medical disorder. The training Dr. Puccini received consisted of multiple hours of lecture and hands-on clinical training in the use of mouth appliances that reduce snoring and keep the airway open. 

So what treatment can you expect to receive if you have sleep apnea? First, Dr. Puccini will take your Impressions and a custom appliance will be fabricated in the lab. The device will be adjusted by Dr. Puccini to fit you perfectly. Wearing this device at bedtime will assist you in getting a healthy night's sleep. Dr. Puccini will schedule follow-up appointments with you to ensure comfort and to check for effectiveness. 

"OSA is a medical condition that must be diagnosed by a physician.” said Dr. Puccini. “I want to work with physicians in the area who find that an oral appliance may benefit their patients who want an alternative to other types of therapy. Most often, continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) is prescribed. I am excited to be able to offer an oral appliance therapy to my existing patients, as well as others who may also find they cannot tolerate their CPAP machines." 

Puccini continued, “I am amazed how many people suffer from severe snoring and sleep apnea and do not realize it. In addition to examining for oral cancer and dental disease, we now screen every patient for the presence of primary snoring and possible sleep apnea. If we suspect someone may have OSA, we will refer them to their primary care physician or sleep physician to get a diagnosis. If appropriate, an oral appliance may be prescribed.” 

“Dr. Puccini has successfully completed an extended Continuing Education program in Sleep medicine at the UCLA School of Dentistry with an emphasis on the role of the dentist and focused on the use of Oral Appliances for the management of sleep apnea and snoring,” said Dr. Dennis R. Bailey, DDS, course co-director and past president of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. “The course at UCLA is multi-disciplinary and taught by both physicians and dental practitioners with expertise in sleep medicine.” 

Dr. Puccini is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Dentistry in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a general dentist with a special interest in implant, cosmetic dentistry, and sleep medicine. Dr. Puccini and his wife Dr. Susan Roberge have owned their dental practice in Bedford for over 30 years. 

For more information regarding Dr. Puccini's treatment of OSA send your questions to or visit: