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Natural Awakenings Hawaii

Is Sound Sleep Only a Dream?

Dec 28, 2016 09:14AM ● By DR. DENNIS NAGATA, DDS

Sleep affects every facet of our health and well-being, including moods and behavior, energy levels, marriages, job performance, as well as our very sanity and happiness. Sleep patterns change as we go through life. Not all sleep is the same, and the amount of restful sleep we get can decrease with age, weight gain and the degree of airway blockage.

Snoring: Is Something Wrong?

Snoring can be present with or without sleep apnea. When sleeping, the jaw falls back and because the tongue is attached to the jaw, it can block the airway. This leads to a reduction in airflow, a snoring sound and/or sleep apnea.

The CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which pumps air through tubing to the nose and mouth, has been the first line of treatment for sleep apnea; however, for many it’s more of a hindrance than a help. A lot of people shy away from using the machine due to the restrictive tubing and discomfort during sleep. Some CPAP users report their spouse cannot sleep due to the machine’s sound and often end up sleeping in a separate room!


Snoring can affect our life in more ways than we realize. This is true for children as well as adults. Symptoms that can be experienced from non-restful sleep include difficulty concentrating and learning (including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder); daytime fatigue; memory loss; increased blood pressure; reduced sex drive; irritability; anxiety and depression; and cardiovascular problems, which can lead to a stroke.

The CPAP Alternative: The Dental Oral Airway Appliance

The purpose of oral appliance therapy is to improve the airway by moving the jaw forward and vertically to allow for more airflow. Many physicians and ear, nose and throat doctors encourage patients to try oral appliance therapy first if their condition is diagnosed as mild-to-moderate sleep apnea. Most snorers and mild-to-moderate sleep apnea sufferers can be treated conservatively and easily by a dentist that has the special education and experience necessary to treat sleep disordered breathing. Even patients with severe sleep apnea that are intolerant to the CPAP machine have reduced their snoring and sleep apnea.

Oral airway appliances are customized for every individual. All of them are removable and effective in increasing the airway, reducing snoring, and decreasing or eliminating sleep apnea events. Appliances are also portable for traveling.

If you or your partner suffer from snoring and sleep apnea, it’s advisable to get screened by your physician or a dentist trained in sleep medicine in order to improve your life.




Dr. Dennis Nagata, DDS, is the founder of Dental Sleep Medicine and is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and The American Sleep and Breathing Academy. He is a former clinical instructor at the renowned Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, also known as LVI Global, and has numerous other professional affiliations, including The American Dental Association and The Hawaii Dental Association.


Dental Sleep Medicine is located at 1520 Liliha St., Ste. 703, in Honolulu. For more information, call 808-526-0670 or visit

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