For problems related to sleep apnea, the dentist makes an examination and delivers a diagnostic in line with the patient’s discomfort. Indeed, this is a condition for which a person stops breathing during sleep for 10 seconds or more, sometimes hundreds of times a night. This is one of the most common diseases among adults: up to 5% of women and 15% of men aged 30 to 60 years.

snore while sleeping

Most people snore while sleeping, but these two sleep disorders are very different. Snoring is bothersome, but sleep apnea can be life threatening. During apnea, the oxygen concentration in the body decreases significantly, and that of carbon dioxide increases, the heart must work harder to compensate for this imbalance. Every time, the brain sends a signal for the person to awaken and resume breathing. These people never get enough sleep.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), the most common form, occurs when the air has trouble reaching the lungs because the airway is obstructed. Characteristically, OSA occurs in three phases:
  • At first, the airway is partially blocked because the soft tissue at the back of the throat relaxes, and then gradually tightens, which produces a very loud snoring.
  • Then, the airway is completely blocked, and breathing stops for at least 10 seconds, sometimes up to two minutes.
  • Finally, the person wakes up briefly (he rarely remembers) and tries to breathe, pants or emits a growl. After regaining his breath, he goes back to sleep, and the cycle is repeated.
NORMAL With a normal patient, the action of the tongue muscles with the soft palate keeps the airway open during sleep.


The relaxation of these muscles causes a narrowing of the airway, which can cause snoring and breathing problems.


When these muscles relax excessively, the airway collapses, causing respiratory obstruction.

Central sleep apnea

Central sleep apnea, a rare type of sleep apnea, involves the central nervous system, occurring when the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing. People with central sleep apnea have their sleep constantly interrupted at night to catch their breath. Mixed sleep apnea combines, as its name suggests, the two previous forms of apnea. It is first manifested as central apnea; it then evolves into obstructive sleep apnea.


Repetitive respiratory irregularities can cause less restful sleep. This condition can lead to serious long-term health complications. Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as:
  • Hypertension (2-3 times), angina, arrhythmia (2-4 times), myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular accident.
  • Increased risk of glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and diabetes.
  • Depression, anxiety.
  • Increases 7 times the risk of being involved in a road accident.
  • Increased risk of an accident at work.
Source : Association pulmonaire du Québec
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