Advertisement DCC

Health Matters

SLEEP APNEA IN CHILDREN

May 8th, 2017

SUBMITTED BY SIGNATURE ORTHODONTICS


Brief pauses in breathing while sleeping are normal but when breathing stops often or for longer periods, it is called sleep apnea. When someone has sleep apnea, oxygen levels in the body may fall and sleep can be disrupted. Most people think that only older people have sleep apnea but children and teens can develop it as well.


When we sleep, our muscles relax. This includes the muscles in the back of the throat that help to keep our airway open. In obstructive sleep apnea, these muscles can relax too much and collapse the airway, making it hard to breathe. Enlarged tonsils and adenoids are the most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea in children.


Mouth-breathing in children will allow the child to get the air he or she needs, it alters “proper oral posture” and causes changes in the child’s growth pattern where changes result in a downward and forward growth direction. Downward and backward growth results in a long lower face and recessive chin.

Children rarely complain of mouth breathing because they quickly accept it as their “normal”. Dental and facial deformities/irregularities can be prevented or minimized by appropriate treatment.


Mouth breathers have different problems so you may need to see more than one doctor. Orthodontists, ENT’S, and allergists all work together to diagnose and correct these problems.


Some signs and symptoms of mouth breathing may include:


•    Snoring

•    Narrow palate, crowded teeth

•    Dark circles under the eyes

•    Open mouth posture, especially when sleeping

•    Dry lips

•    Bad breath

•    Child requires more than the usual sleep and frequently feels poorly rested

•    Trouble concentrating at school

•    Higher than usual infections of the sinus, ear, colds, etc


Strategies for Parents


•    Make sure your child can easily breathe through his/her nose

•    Ensure your child(ren) see a dentist by age 1-2 and an orthodontist by age 7.

•    Check with your physician for possible allergies your child may have, as allergies can force a child to mouth-breathe.

•    Ensure that your child’s diet and environment don’t contribute to allergies.

    


While the Canadian and American association of orthodontists recommend an initial orthodontic assessment by age 7 this is especially important for a mouth breathing child. This is because early diagnosis can lead to early intervention and treatment in children to help direct growth to a more favorable pattern and direction. This can involve appliances to widen the dental arches, reduce habits, and advance the lower jaw. It can also allow earlier referrals to other health care providers such as allergists, ENT’s and myofunctional therapists. By the time the patient is in their teen years the bone is mature enough that the expansion phase of orthodontics can become less effective.


For teens and adults, it can be too late for simple orthodontic treatment as facial deformities generally increase with growth. A combination of surgery and orthodontics may be required to shorten the length of the face or widen the dental arches.


Signature Orthodontics is a specialty orthodontic practice located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Dr. Ian McKee and Dr. Shawn Russett had a vision to create a warm and welcoming professional environment, and to build a strong team of dedicated people committed to providing the highest quality of patient care. Over the past 10 years, Signature Orthodontics has continued to grow, and today our team is over thirty plus strong, with each member devoted to providing the very best in orthodontic treatment for our patients. We look forward to welcoming you to our Signature family!

Leave a comment:

Share This Page

Contests

On Stands Now

where to find your copy

Stay Connected

Advertisement Pamper and Play

Things to do…