What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea? By drednarcisi on March 17, 2023

A man closing his eyes and holding his hands to his faceIf you snore loudly, wake up feeling exhausted, or have trouble staying awake throughout the day, you may have obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea treatment aids breathing at night, helping to alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea so you can get restorative sleep. 

At the Center for Dental Excellence, Dr. Edward Narcisi offers dental sleep appliances to treat obstructive sleep apnea for Monroeville, PA, and Pittsburgh, PA, patients. For more information about sleep apnea, or to seek a diagnosis, we welcome you to schedule a consultation to discuss your options.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the several types of sleep apnea, a group of sleep-related breathing disorders that causes breathing to stop and start over and over again while sleeping.

Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most common types of sleep apnea, occurring when the throat muscles relax and block the airway while sleeping. As the muscles relax, it causes the soft palate to narrow and decrease airflow through the upper airway. This can cause loud snoring and makes breathing difficult while sleeping.

Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea has many possible causes, such as:

  • Excessive weight
  • Smoking
  • Asthma
  • Family history
  • Diabetes
  • Narrowed airways

Signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Because obstructive sleep apnea occurs during sleep, many people with the condition may not realize they have it. Often, obstructive sleep apnea is first noticed by a partner or family member.

Some signs of obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • Snoring loudly
  • Never feeling rested or always extremely tired
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Waking up abruptly while choking or gasping for air
  • High blood pressure
  • Waking up with a headache
  • Problems with concentration while awake
  • Increased irritability
  • Mood changes
  • Periods where breathing has stopped observed during sleep

When to Seek Treatment

Untreated obstructive sleep apnea can significantly impact quality of life, causing excessive fatigue, mood changes, and concentration problems. It can also increase the risk of other health problems, like high blood pressure and heart disease.

It’s important to seek treatment for obstructive treatment when:

  • Breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep
  • Snoring disturbs your own sleep or others
  • You wake up choking or gasping for air
  • Excessive daytime drowsiness causes you to fall asleep during the day, especially during important tasks like working or driving

Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Treatment is available for obstructive sleep apnea. Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment for many people with mild to severe obstructive sleep apnea.

With oral appliance therapy, a custom-made mouthguard is worn during sleep to help keep the airways open and enable better sleep.

Contact the Center for Dental Excellence

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious issue that can affect all aspects of life. Treatment can help improve the quality of sleep and alleviate the many symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. For answers to your questions about obstructive sleep apnea or to discuss treatment options, please call our Monroeville office at (412) 373-9447 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

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Dr. Edward Narcisi, DMD

Edward Narcisi, DMD

Dr. Narcisi is devoted to helping patients achieve stunning, healthy smiles through comprehensive dental care. He is a member of many prestigious associations, including: 

  • American Dental Association
  • Pennsylvania Dental Association
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry 
  • Academy of Osseointegration 

To schedule a consultation at the Center for Dental Excellence, request an appointment online or call us at (412) 373-9447.

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