Sleep Apnea

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Awareness of sleep apnea has increased significantly in recent years, and as treatment options and supporting technology have improved, more people than ever are changing their lives by resolving this dangerous and impactful condition. What used to be thought of as severe snoring is now understood more than ever before.

Sleep apnea refers to a pause in breathing during sleep. When breaks in breathing patterns become chronic, the patient often chokes and gasps throughout the night. Apnea is often severe by the time it is discovered, since the sleep-deprived patient doesn’t fully wake each time a gasp is induced. Instead, they are deprived of deep restorative sleep over time. Apnea sufferers who do not sleep with a partner often wonder why they feel so depleted after what they thought was a full night of sleep.

Book an Appointment With Bloom Dental Wellness!

Call us and we can happily schedule an appointment for you and your family! Or click below to book an appointment with us online through our website.

Our Focus

At Bloom Dental wellness we are focused on your overall health and keen on exploring the links between oral health and systemic health and wellness. Hence, we are proudly collaborating with The Snore Center. The Snore Centre is a multidisciplinary clinic offering personalized assessment, diagnosis and treatment for SnoringSleep Apnea and a variety of other sleep disordered breathing conditions. With on-site board certified dental physicians and partnerships with ENTs, sleep physicians and other health care professionals, The Snore Centre will provide a truly customized approach to patient care and treatment. 


Sleep apnea sufferers are so tired for so long that it can begin to affect every aspect of their lives. They may have trouble waking in the morning and getting to work on time due to headaches and grogginess as they try to start their day. They often find it increasingly difficult to make decisions, process information, and keep on top of responsibilities at work and home. Operating at a deficit like this can impact frustration tolerance, emotional regulation and make us more uninhibited in an argument. Sleep apnea sufferers are more likely to have accidents at work, and while driving. Physical ailments can seem to ‘stack up’ without explanation for those experiencing it.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are two kinds of sleep apnea. The first is called obstructive apnea. The obstruction in its name refers to the fact that the airway is blocked by tissue in these patients. This happens most often when back sleepers develop an excess of tissue in the throat and neck that gravity holds over the airway when the muscles in the neck relax. This is most often the cause of severe snoring. In snoring, the patient is trying to draw air in despite the gap, and the resulting sound reflects the excess tissue flapping as the patient breathes in. This is often caused by weight gain, so patients are often counselled to consider weight loss to improve the condition. Patients with obstructive apnea often report a better sleep when they sleep in a partially reclined recliner. This can remove the direct pressure of the tissue over the airway.

Sleep Apnea Appliances

There are oral appliances which can be worn through the night that position the lower jaw in a forward position in order to tighten the tissues and hold them away from the airway. Some patients find sleeping with an oral appliance challenging and prefer to use a breathing machine. These machines are referred to as CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) machines that deliver pressurized air via a mask. The pressure of the air current prevents tissue from blocking the airway and is the treatment of choice for the second type of apnea: central sleep apnea.

Central sleep apnea does not occur because of a blockage but rather to a breakdown in communication between the brain and body. The body’s natural impulse to breathe is not being recognized by the brain and therefore minutes can go by before the patient is able to draw breath. Sleep apnea has been linked to diabetes and heart disease, and waking with a headache may be an indication of inappropriate levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide while at rest.


In order to determine whether you are suffering from sleep apnea, you will need to see a dentist trained in identifying and treating the condition. Your dentist will likely ask you to perform a sleep test so that your sleep patterns can be recorded and analyzed. To do this, your dentist will provide you with a test kit. The kit will include a headband which must be worn during sleep and will record how often you stop breathing and for how long. With this information your dentist will be able to diagnose your condition and make recommendations about how to proceed with treatment.

It can sometimes be difficult for patients to buy-in to sleeping with a mask or appliance, and it can take some getting used to. But it only takes one night of fully restorative sleep to show such a dramatic improvement in quality of life that the inconvenience of using and maintaining these solutions becomes an easy trade-off.

If you wake in the morning with pain in the neck and shoulders and chronic headaches but show no sign of apnea, your dentist will likely assess you for temporomandibular problems like bruxism – a condition that causes clenching and grinding the teeth against each other throughout the night. This condition can cause painful eating, stress on teeth and gums and can even cause large teeth to crack or break.

For questions about this or other services offered by our general dentist, contact our clinic today.

Bloom Logo