Dr Dittmar Eichhoff, a specialist in airway dentistry, based in Grahamstown; Dr Jacques Smit, a local dentist from Cape Town and Cape Town based dental lab technician and local businessman Gary Hockly are the co-founders of the annual #TotalHealth onference and all feel extremely passionate about the importance of an integrated, interdisciplinary approach from all medical practitioners, in helping screen, diagnose and treat breathing and sleep disorders and the associated medical co-morbidities in both paediatric and adult patients.
Co-Founder & General Dentist
General dentist specializing in airway dentistry, Dr Dittmar Eichhoff graduated in 1982 at the University of Stellenbosch Dental School, South Africa. Since 1984 he has been running his own private practice in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape Province, SA. He travels abroad extensively and studies Sleep and Breathing Disorders (since 2007) and lectures internationally in Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) and Snoring (since 2012). His practice specializes in adult Dento-Facial Orthopaedics (DFO), Orthodontics and TMD associated with Bruxism, Snoring and OSA, and Early Intervention Face Growth Guidance (FGG) in children associated with Bruxism, Snoring and Paediatric OSA.
Co-Founder, Dental Technician & Businessman
Dental technician, Gary Hockly, founder and CEO of Ivodent since 1998, supplies specialist products to the dental industry. Recognising a need for a broader range of quality oral health products inspired him to start supplying pharmacies and retailers, through the oral care division, Ivohealth. Gary has been in the industry for over 25 years and is a qualified dental technician, and is a natural marketer and entrepreneur. He believes his business must at all times add value to dentistry and, through good oral health, to overall general body health too.
Co-Founder & General Dentist
Dr Jacques Smit’s interest in breathing, facial development and prevention, was peaked after attending a course in 2010 where Guys De Necker spoke on Tempero-mandibular disorder(TMD).
He immediately recognised that he was a sufferer and that there was a large gap in his knowledge as far as diagnosing and treatment was concerned. He underwent treatment and attended some Skipp Truitt courses in Orthodontics and TMD and started treating mild cases.
“When treating a Patient who was curious about the origin of this problem, I conducted a Google Search and came across the book ‘Shut your mouth and save your life’ by George Catlin 1891”, said Smit.
“The book changed everything for me and I started to address the issue, even on very young patients.
I soon realised that breastfeeding is the largest significant force involved in the correct development of the upper jaw. My Aunt who ran the local Paediatric practice at our local Medicross clinic, asked if I could do some frenectomies on babies who had problems latching or causing painful breastfeeding. I was attending Breastfeeding consultancy lectures – and discovered they seemed to know more about facial development and prevention than I did! I now do 20 frenectomies a mont on babies – my after-hours work”
“At first I used removable orthodontics (Skipp Truitt’s) on children.Problems soon arose as the compliance was poor and I had no control.
I subsequently attended numerous courses by Dr Bert Botha (Haartebeespoort) where he presented his Orthologics treatment protocols for fixed preventative orthodontics.
I was also diagnosed with very high blood pressure and cholesterol, and was prescribed medication that did not produce the desired result. My physician recommended a sleep polysomnography as he thought I had sleep apnoea. He was correct – it was severe and I was given the C-PAP machine which was really effective. I’m now almost weaned off the meds.
When researching how sleep disordered breathing causes high blood pressure – I attended a talk hosted by local dental company Ivodent, given by Dittmar Eichhoff on Breathing and Airway Dentistry. As a result, I immediately enrolled Into the American Academy of Sleep Disorder Disciplines. I became a diplomat in December 2018 and since then have been treating sleep apnoea and snoring.
The link between breastfeeding and jaw development and its roll in breathing, posture, sleep patterns, physical and psychological development and the link to diseases, etc, began to weave a tapestry that directed me on this exciting and fulfilling road of integrated medicine.
I currently treat a growing number of patients in a team approach supported by other specialists. – the word is out and the results are obvious.”
Jacques has been in private practice since 1994. He has had his own practice in Sunset Beach, Cape Town since 2004. He is married with three kids, loves golf, boating, stand up paddling and playing the guitar.