Thomas M. Cleary, D.M.D., became aware of the seriousness of sleep apnea through observations made in his general dentistry practice.

After treating patients for snoring and finding that the treatment not only addressed that problem but often had a beneficial effect on their sleep in general, he identified a frequent underlying cause: sleep apnea. While snoring is fairly innocuous, sleep apnea is not. A serious disease, it requires intervention.

In 2012, Dr. Cleary completed a two-year residency in sleep medicine at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston. Since then he has been focusing on treating patients with sleep apnea through the use of oral appliances.

A graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, Dr. Cleary received his D.M.D. degree from the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 1974. At Tufts he was named to Omicron Kappa Upsilon, which recognizes dental students of exceptional scholarship and character.

In 1975 Dr. Cleary established a general dentistry practice in Easthampton. His son, Thomas M. Cleary, Jr., D.D.S., joined the practice in 2008.

In addition to his private practice, Dr. Cleary is an assistant clinical professor and an operative practice coordinator at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.

He also serves on the Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (formerly the Northeast Regional Board of Dental Examiners), administering licensing exams to graduates of dental schools.

Dr. Cleary was the longtime chair of Dental Connections, the largest educational program for dental auxiliaries in New England. He serves on the executive committee of the Valley District Dental Society and is a past president of the Hampshire Dental Society.

He is a member of the Massachusetts Dental Society’s Council on Dental Care and Benefits, and has been a volunteer coordinator for the MDS’ annual convention in Boston, the Yankee Dental Congress.

In 2014 Dr. Cleary was honored by the Massachusetts Dental Society as a William McKenna Volunteer Hero, in recognition of his contributions to organized dentistry in the state.

Dr. Cleary belongs to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, working toward diplomate status. He is also a member of the American Dental Association and the Massachusetts Dental Society.

Dr. Cleary, a native of Holyoke, lives in Westhampton with his family.