Do you think you may have sleep apnea and want to learn more about it? Have you been diagnosed and want to consult someone to explore your options?

With a proven multidisciplinary approach, our professionals can manage oral health-related sleep disorders. Our Montréal clinic also offers the best brands in custom-made dental braces, recognized for their safety and effectiveness. Contact us now for a consultation about the options available to you to improve your sleep and protect your health.

How do you know if you have sleep apnea?

Do you frequently suffer from headaches or drowsiness in the morning? Do you have difficulty concentrating during the day? Does your partner worry because you snore a lot?

Many factors can cause sleep apnea, including:

  • The anatomy of your jaw, your face and parts of your mouth
  • Obesity
  • Nasal congestion due to allergies or asthma

When your snoring is marked by pauses in your breathing that last at least 10 seconds, you are at risk of suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, a more serious medical condition. Apnea occurs when the muscles of the airways relax during sleep and the soft tissues of the throat, like the uvula, soft palate, and pharyngeal walls, block your airflow.

According to statistics, apnea is present in many patients suffering from other health problems:

  • 70% of patients have had a heart attack
  • 43% of patients have hypertension
  • 48% of patients have type 2 diabetes
  • 50% to 75% of patients have gastric reflux

What are the risks of apnea?

Apnea is now considered a chronic disease in the same way as asthma or diabetes. When pauses in breathing due to apnea occur several times a night, they can affect the quality of your sleep and reduce the level of oxygen in your blood. According to statistics, while people with sleep apnea are 4 times more likely to have a stroke, 75% of patients remain undiagnosed.

Depending on their severity, breathing pauses and lack of restorative sleep can result in a variety of serious side effects:

  • Excessive drowsiness during the day
  • Accidents at work or driving
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Risk of cerebrovascular accidents (CVA)
  • Diabetes and/or obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Problems with memory, concentration and learning
  • Choking or gasping during sleep
  • Depression, etc.

How do you treat apnea?

Apnea must first be confirmed by performing a laboratory sleep test, called polysomnography, which can be prescribed by a health professional, such as your family doctor, ENT specialist, pulmonologist, etc. In the case of mild apnea, your doctor may suggest that you adopt better lifestyle habits such as:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Regular exercise
  • Limit alcohol and sedatives
  • Stop smoking
  • Adopt a regular sleep routine, etc.

If appropriate, your doctor might recommend surgery, such as: 

  • Removal of tonsils in childre
  • Correction of a deformity in the face or respiratory tract
  • Bariatric surgery for overweight people

If your apnea is more severe, your doctor or other healthcare professional may recommend that you wear a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask at night. This type of mask is attached by a tube to a machine, and it covers your nose and mouth, forcing a jet of air into the airways to keep them open while you sleep.

It is a recognized and effective solution, but it is not suitable for all people. Some may be claustrophobic or allergic to latex. Others breathe through their mouths or sleep on their sides. For many patients, freedom of movement in bed is paramount or travelling to work or sunny destinations with a CPAP mask is just not for them. Lastly, some patients seek a solution that is less detrimental to their relationship’s harmony and intimacy. In that case, it’s better to turn to a dental brace.

Contact us now to find out what options are available to you.

The cost of apnea orthotics may be covered by some insurers. It is not covered by the Régie d'assurance-maladie du Québec (RAMQ), but may be eligible for the tax credit on medical expenses. Check with your insurer.