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Natural Awakenings Hawaii

How a Dentist Can Save Your Life

Jan 29, 2016 09:36AM ● By Dr. Dennis Nagata, DDS

The role of a dentist has expanded beyond diagnosing cavities and gum disease. A dentist properly trained in a holistic approach to patient treatment will be able to help the medical profession by screening for diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, oral cancer and one of the most devastating of conditions, obstructive sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the root cause of many medical issues, such as heart disease, stroke, fibromyalgia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and temporomandibular disorder problems. The basic problem is that the patient is not breathing properly at night and not going through the proper sleep cycles that enable the body to heal and recover from the stresses of daily life.

The trained dentist will find abnormalities in the mouth causing the obstruction of airflow. The obstruction in sleep apnea is often related to abnormal patient anatomy, such as a narrow roof of the mouth (palate); an enlarged tongue with a narrow floor of the mouth; misaligned teeth, causing a bad bite; or poor jaw position, resulting in a very narrow airway.

Early recognition and treatment is critical in getting effective results. If developmental issues are caught in early childhood and teenage years, a lot of these obstructions can be prevented.

New and effective treatment modalities are available, such as the DNA appliance, which helps to correct jaw size and align teeth, thus improving sleep disordered breathing and allowing the patient to live longer and enjoy a better quality of life. (See picture of before and after treatment.)

After 37 years in dentistry and looking at the oral structures and their relationship to overall health, I have transitioned my patient examination process to a more “integrative and holistic dental” approach.

There is a complex human being attached to the oral structures and the positon of teeth, and the anatomy of the associated oral structures all contribute to a person’s ability to breathe and sleep and live a healthy life. My goal is to optimize the entire oral complex for improvement in overall health and well-being.

Dennis Nagata, DDS, is the owner of Hawaii Center for Cosmetic & Laser Dentistry; is a member of the American Academy of Sleep Dentistry, International College of Craniomandibular Orthopedics, Mercury-Safe Dentistry, and American Academy of Cosmetic Orthodontics; and is a certified provider for DNA appliance.

Hawaii Center for Cosmetic & Laser Dentistry is located at 1520 Liliha St., Ste. 703, in Honolulu. For more information, call 808-526-0670 or visit

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