Children and Sleep Apnea

As a loving parent, you know the importance of your child getting a good night’s sleep. But have you considered the possibility that a sleep-related breathing disorder may be robbing your son or daughter of the precious rest they need?

In fact, researchers have made a startling discovery in recent years: While the number of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has steadily increased, it has become known that a large number of these cases have been misdiagnosed. In fact, many children demonstrating symptoms of ADHD are actually suffering from sleep apnea.

Is Your Child Suffering From Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts throughout a sleep cycle. This happens when soft tissues near the back of the throat (such as the tonsils or tongue) block the airway. Risk factors for sleep apnea include the shape and size of your child’s mouth, their body weight, and their sleeping position.

Here are some common symptoms a child who is suffering from sleep apnea or a similar SRBD may exhibit:

  • Snoring
  • Interruptions in breathing
  • Chronic breathing through the mouth
  • Constant tossing and turning
  • Panic attacks
  • Bed-wetting

If your child exhibits one or more of these, you should consider having him or her examined by a professional.

Treating Sleep Apnea in Children

If your child receives a diagnosis of sleep apnea, the team at the Marconi Dentistry Group will work together with your physician and a sleep apnea specialist to determine the best method of treatment.

Sleep apnea treatment may include one of the following:

  • Orthodontics: Orthodontic appliances may be prescribed to help reposition teeth and/or soft tissue, thereby reshaping the mouth and increasing airflow.
  • Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT): If your child has already stopped growing, he or she may better benefit from Oral Appliance Therapy. They will be equipped with an oral appliance designed to reposition the jaw and keep soft tissues from obstructing the airway.
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): If your child suffers from severe sleep apnea, he or she may need to be connected to a CPAP machine. The child will wear a mask that delivers a constant yet mild flow of air pressure produced by the machine. This air pressure helps to keep the child’s airway open.
  • Surgery: In a small number of cases, and following unsuccessful treatment using more conservative methods, we may recommend the removal of the tonsils or adenoids.

So, is your child having trouble sleeping at night? If so, be sure to get in contact with your Carmichael dentists at the Marconi Dentistry Group today. We can help properly diagnose the situation and get your child the help they need.