Pediatric sleep apnea is a rather common disorder in children. A child may present with these symptoms;
- Pauses in breathing- this is when it sounds as if your child has temporary pauses in their breathing when sleeping.
- Snoring or snorting- Most children with pediatric sleep apnea snore very loudly when sleeping, it is hard to imagine such loud sounds coming from such a small frame. However, not all children with pediatric sleep apnea snore.
- Mouth breathing- because of the obstruction in their airways, most children will prefer to breathe through the mouth while sleeping.
- Restlessness while sleeping- most kids with pediatric sleep apnea experience restlessness when sleeping, and this will manifest in a lot of turning and tossing .
- Bedwetting- in some children, bedwetting and pediatric sleep apnea go hand in hand.
- A child with pediatric sleep apnea may present some behavioral problems in their waking life. This is due to their disturbed patterns of sleeping that leave them with less than enough sleep.
- Paying attention can be hard for a child suffering from pediatric sleep apnea. Instead of timeouts or other punishments, parents should always seek to get to the root cause of the problem.
- Hyperactivity in children has also been linked to pediatric sleep apnea.
- Poor weight gain has also been noted in some children with pediatric sleep apnea.
Pediatric sleep apnea will mostly present as a partial or complete obstruction in your child’s breathing during sleep. It results from the upper airway being narrow or partially blocked during sleep.
If a child has enlarged tonsils and adenoids, they could be at risk of sleep apnea. Obesity in children can also be a risk factor.
How Can A Pediatric Dentist Help With Sleep Apnea?
Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are usually the most common treatments for pediatric sleep apnea.
Pediatric sleep apnea is not only life-threatening but can result in oral health complications. Children with sleep apnea can eventually suffer dental health complications such as periodontitis and temporomandibular joint disorders.
During a sleep apnea episode, the jaw will reflexively clench to prevent the airway from being blocked when the throat relaxes.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) can lead to other problems such as pain when chewing, cracked or broken teeth, chronic headaches, and neck or shoulder pain.
A pediatric orthodontist can be of great help in offering treatment options such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
The use of orthodontic appliances has been effectively used in the management of pediatric sleep apnea. The appliances are used to expand the palate or anterior posturing of the mandible and tongue when a child is sleeping.
Oral appliances are devices custom fit for young patients to prevent the airway from collapsing by supporting the jaw in a forward position while sleeping.
The oral appliances help maintain an open, unobstructed airway, easing the symptoms associated with pediatric sleep apnea.
Oral appliance therapy is effective in treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSP) in recent years.
A pediatric dentist will work hand in hand with your child’s doctor to ensure effective pediatric sleep apnea management and treatment.
At Adaven’s Children Dentistry, we have the experience and expertise to take care of pediatric sleep apnea effectively. As a kids dentist, we are dedicated to gently and competitively taking care of your young ones’ oral health. Contact us to schedule your appointment.