Dr. Nammy Patel, the founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, sits down with John Maher to talk about the DNA Appliance. She talks about how this natural, pain-free solution cures sleep apnea for the majority of patients and how it can improve facial structures and issues with symmetry.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. And I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health, and whole body health and author of the best-selling book Age with Style: Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living. Today, our topic is the DNA Appliance, a natural non-surgical, permanent solution for sleep apnea. Welcome Dr. Nammy.

Dr. Nammy Patel: Hi John. I am so excited to speak to you today because I brought some great information for you.

Sleep Apnea and Your Health

John: That sounds great. Sleep apnea is a problem that a lot of people have. Tell us a little bit more about what it is and why it’s a problem for our health.

Dr. Nammy: So when it comes to sleep apnea, what that means is that your body actually drops the amount of oxygen that it has in it to about 3 to 5%. And that’s a problem because you stop breathing, is basically what your body is saying. When you stop breathing, can’t live very long without oxygen. Do you know how long somebody can live without oxygen?

John: I don’t.

Dr. Nammy: It’s about eight minutes. And oxygen is a vital source of life. It’s kind of like plants. Plants need sunlight for photosynthesis so they can grow. Our body needs oxygen. We cannot live without oxygen. So if we stop breathing at any time and what it does, it increases the amount of carbon dioxide in our body. And that carbon dioxide leads to high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes and a lot of other concerns. So we want to address that as soon as possible. Even Alzheimer’s and memory issues, ADHD, for children it’s bedwetting, in ADHD so those unruly kids, it’s a very common symptom that we see with kids who are not getting good airway breathing. And so we really want to slow down and really evaluate the quality of sleep that we actually get. And is it that we stop breathing? That’s number one. Number two, are we actually able to get the dream sleep? Because that dream sleep is really important. That’s when our body repairs itself.

How Lack of Sleep Affects Your Immune System

John: Right. And if you’re constantly kind of waking yourself up because you’re not breathing and then you’re choking or something like that, you’re never able to be asleep long enough to get into that dream sleep.

Dr. Nammy: Right. And your body never has the ability to repair. It doesn’t have the time to repair cellular functions like fighting cancer or other auto-immune issues. For example, a lot of patients with sleep apnea or breathing issues end up having a lot of gut infections. Also, a lot of acne is another symptom I see or any skin issues like eczema is very common, skin lesions, thyroid conditions. These are all samples of problems with sleeping, because if your body is not able to get in that REM sleep, that deep sleep, it’s not able to restore function. And what happens to anything that we push or how we push ourselves on hyperdrive and we don’t like, for example, our computers, if we don’t update them, what happens? They break down. And that’s what happens with our bodies, is that they break down because they’re not getting that reboot that they need on a daily basis.

How Long Do People Stop Breathing When They Have Sleep Apnea?

John: When people have sleep apnea, for how long are they tending to not breathe at a time? And if people can live for up to eight minutes without oxygen, why is maybe a shorter period of time such an issue?

Dr. Nammy: It can be about three to five minutes. And the concern here is per hour. So if you stop breathing per hour, if you stop breathing more than five times per hour for your oxygen levels to drop, that is a concern. Because you’re never getting back to that 100% and you’re never getting that deep sleep because your body at rest should be… Your breathing is autonomic, which means you don’t have to think about it. Your body doesn’t have to think about it. So when somebody has sleep apnea or has breathing issues, what’s happening is their body has to wake up, gasping for air. And it has to start making that something that’s so autonomic, something that they actually have to think about, breathing. So their body never gets that rest sleep and never gets that ability to recover. And it is acidic. It’s an acidic body, which leads to a build up of a lot of bacteria, leads to a lot of gut issues, leads to ADHD, leads to cancer, leads to Alzheimer, it leads to a lot of different things.

Sleep Apnea and Oral Health

John: How is it that sleep apnea relates to your teeth and your gums in your mouth?

Dr. Nammy: So patients with sleep apnea tend to grind their teeth because they’re not getting good amount of air. So when they’re grasping, they’re clenching their teeth together. And what we find is that they end up cracking a lot of their teeth. And so they end up needing a lot of dental work. The other thing that we find is that they are breathing through their mouth because to try to get more air in when they’re gasping and so when they’re breathing through their mouth, their mouth is super dry so it leads to gum disease. So in essence, it basically causes cavities and gum disease. When it causes cavities and gum disease, it can lead to tooth loss and that’s our biggest concern.

How Does the DNA Appliance Help With Sleep Apnea?

John: Okay. What is the DNA Appliance and how does that help with sleep apnea?

Dr. Nammy: The DNA Appliance is called a Daytime-Nighttime Appliance, and it looks like a retainer actually. And it’s really great because what we actually do with the DNA Appliance is we’re able to use epigenetics and various synthetic materials to actually mimic jaw growth. And it makes your jaw grow so that you have better airway and so that tongue doesn’t fall back and you’re able to get better breathing and it decreases the chances of apnea.

Is the DNA Appliance Like Braces?

John: Okay. So is it kind of like braces in a way?

Dr. Nammy: It can actually work like braces in a way. We do a lot of cases with patient’s that have sleep apnea or have breathing concerns, a common good thing that I see is patients who have had braces and their teeth were super perfect. What happens is the teeth end up crowding again. And the reason for that is because their breathing issue wasn’t solved and your body is always going to prioritize breathing versus straight teeth. So, and the tongue pushes against the teeth and ends up crowding their front teeth. And that commonly, when we see crowded front teeth on the lower anteriors, is when we know that the patient has a breathing issue. And so we correct both, we correct the jaw structure, which is a skeletal structure and the crowding of the teeth all at the same time.

How Often Do You Need to Wear the DNA Appliance?

John: What does the DNA Appliance look like? Is it something that I have to wear all day long?

Dr. Nammy: The DNA Appliance is something you have to wear 16 hours a day. So what I usually say to patients is think about it like intermittent fasting, start at 6:00 PM and go until about 10:00 AM the next morning. And what it does is it’s like a retainer, it’s very gentle. You don’t really feel pain or pressure. It’s just an appliance in the body that, you feel like a glove, it feels snug, but there’s no pain and there’s no discomfort. And its whole purpose is to stimulate the stem cells that actually exist in the jaw bone and expand the jaw, creating more space for the tongue and hence more space for the airway.

Can the DNA Appliance Help Everyone with Sleep Apnea?

John: And is the DNA Appliance a cure for sleep apnea? Is it right for everybody?

Dr. Nammy: Yes it is. And that is the beauty for patients, is that it is a non-surgical approach. And what the beauty of the DNA appliance is once you are working with the DNA Appliance, once you complete the process which is about 12 to 24 months, excuse me, you’re actually completely done with the cycle. You don’t have to worry about wearing a retainer. You don’t have to worry about wearing a CPAP machine. There are rare instances where there might be an obese patient, where they do need a CPAP machine or they need some and another appliance with it.

But 80% of the time we can do this to make sure that the patients are able to go on with their lives without having to worry about the CPAP. The other thing is a lot of times patients come for the DNA Appliance for cosmetic reasons. The things that we find is that there’s a lot of asymmetry in the face. So like, one of their eyes is bigger than the other, or one side of their nose, they have a crooked nose, all of those things, instead of going through surgical approaches, we can actually use a DNA Appliance in order to fix that.

Can the DNA Appliance Improve the Shape of Your Face?

John: Well, because it actually can help to change the shape of your face as well.

Dr. Nammy: Of your skeletal structure, yes, absolutely. And the beauty again is non-surgically and permanent.

Is the DNA Appliance Right for You?

John: Right. So is the DNA appliance right for everybody? Or how would I know whether or not it’s right for me?

Dr. Nammy: So the first thing we do when a patient comes in is that we do a sleep study and we also do a Mallampati score. We look at the tongue space or we’ll take a CT scan where we actually can see the airway and we can actually look at what is the volume of air that you’re receiving. And there’s three parts. There’s the oral pharynx, the mid-pharynx and then the lower pharynx. So what we find is where is the area of constriction? Is it in the nose area? Is it in the throat area or below the throat area, below the tongue? And depending on where it is, we can actually look at the CT scans and determine how much space we need to create in order for you to have better breathing.

Get Help With Sleep Apnea From Green Dentistry

John: Okay. Well, that’s really great information Dr. Nammy, thanks again for speaking with me today.

Dr. Nammy: My pleasure, John.

John: And for more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website @sfgreendentist.com or call 415-433-0119.