July 27, 2019
Dr. Edgar H. McElroy, known to his patients as Dr. Ed, is the newest addition to the Sleep Dallas team! With over 40 years of experience in the field of dentistry, Dr. Ed spent the majority of his early career working in private practice. Since 2010, his focus has been in the field of dental sleep medicine and, to date, he has treated over 1,000 patients with oral appliances. We had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Ed to ask more about his passion for helping his patients get better quality sleep with oral devices.
What sparked your interest in dental sleep medicine?
My interest in dental sleep medicine was sparked about 10 years ago when my wife was about to “vote me off the island” and send me down the hall to the guest room because of my snoring. I constantly felt tired, even if I was in bed for 7-8 hours, and I was unable to get quality sleep. Once I heard about oral appliances, I wanted to give them a try so I took a course and made one for myself. I was amazed at the wonderful effect it had on both my snoring and daytime fatigue. I became passionate about the impact this newly emerging field of dentistry could have for my patients in my general dental practice in El Paso, Texas, where I was working at the time. I began flying all over the country to take as many dental sleep medicine courses that I could find!
In pursuing your interest in dental sleep medicine, what was the most memorable conference you attended?
The most impactful conference I attended was the very first course I took in dental sleep medicine 10 years ago with Dr. Keith Thornton, who is a pioneer in the field, here in Dallas. The conference led to me join the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, take their courses and attend their annual meetings, as well as many other outside courses in the field of dental sleep medicine.
Who do you admire most in dental sleep medicine?
My colleague and the owner of Sleep Dallas, Dr. Kent Smith. His course was one of the very early courses I took during my initial education in dental sleep medicine, about 10 years ago. Little did I know that I would be working with him one day!
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I really enjoy sitting down with a new patient for the very first time and asking them to tell me, in their own words, what they have been going through with their sleep problems. I also enjoy sharing my story with them. I’ve found many times that this gives patients hope that there is indeed a solution to their sleep issues!
What is your top tip for a better night’s sleep?
Try to minimize any bright lights or images in the last remaining minutes before bed.
What should individuals who struggle with sleep avoid doing?
Those who struggle with sleep should avoid sleeping flat on their back, if at all possible, in an attempt to decrease blockage of the airway by their tongue.
How important is it to get a good night’s sleep every night?
It’s critical in order for us to perform at our best throughout the day.
How do you know if you’re getting quality sleep?
If you are getting quality sleep, then you will wake up feeling refreshed, with plenty of energy for the day.
When do you recommend individuals who struggle with snoring be evaluated for a sleep disorder?
Anyone who snores, or has excessive daytime fatigue, should consult with their doctor about getting a sleep study to check for sleep apnea.
How can you tell if someone is suffering from sleep apnea?
Early warning signs are usually snoring, witnessed cessation of breathing for a number of seconds, and daytime fatigue.
How do you spend your time outside of the office?
In my free time, I enjoy lap swimming and weight training for exercise, spending time with my wife of over 40 years, Jan, and our two adult sons, and playing with our two wonderful little Chihuahua’s.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
In three words, I would say I’m “an eternal optimist.”