Conquering Pediatric Sleep Apnea for a Healthy Start
Childhood is a time of incredible growth and development for our kids. It lays the foundation for a healthy physical, social and educational start to their lives.
Full and restful nights of sleep can go a long way towards helping our children grow into be the best kids they can be. Unfortunately, more and more children are suffering from sleep disordered breathing, a condition that can prevent restful nights of sleep and have far-reaching negative effects on their lives.
What is Sleep Disordered Breathing?
Sleep disordered breathing is common in children. About 3 – 12% of children have some form of sleep disordered breathing which can range from snoring to sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when muscles in the mouth, jaw and throat partially or fully block the airway, causing difficulty breathing.
What causes obstructive sleep apnea in children?
Because there are many factors that play a role, identifying the root cause of childhood sleep apnea may be difficult to pinpoint. Children who are overweight, who have deviated septum or abnormal facial structures, or who have enlarged tonsils and adenoids, are oftentimes at an increased risk of suffering from sleep apnea. Prolonged use of pacifiers or nipple bottles, mouth breathing can also contribute to this condition
What are the symptoms of pediatric sleep apnea?
For many sleep apnea sufferers, the most obvious symptoms occur while they are sleeping, making it difficult to self-diagnose. When it comes to your children, there are a few symptoms you should look for:
- Loud and persistent snoring on most nights
- Long pauses in breathing while sleeping
- Frequently waking up out of breath
- Increased irritability or moodiness
- Increased drowsiness or feeling sleepy during the day
- Difficulty concentrating in school
How can sleep apnea be treated?
Treatment for sleep apnea is oftentimes directly related to the source of the sleep apnea. In the case of a child with enlarged tonsils or adenoids, surgical removal is oftentimes an effective treatment method. In the event a child is overweight, weight management through proper nutrition and exercise is recommended, though oftentimes only a part of the solution.
Traditional CPAP treatments are widely considered a viable sleep apnea treatment option, especially for severe sleep apnea cases. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that only 40% of patients actually wear their CPAP masks. Why? Because CPAP masks can be bulky, noisy and difficult to sleep with.
At Dassani Dentistry we pride ourselves in staying on top of the most current advances in dental technology. Thanks to these advances in dental technology, Dr. Dassani can treat sleep apnea with a variety of comfortable oral therapy appliances.
How does oral appliance therapy work?
At Dassani Dentistry, we custom create each sleep appliance to fit each patient’s unique needs. Oral appliance therapy starts by crafting a fully customized oral appliance for your child to wear at night while they sleep.
Worried that your child may have sleep apnea? Call today for a free consultation with Dr. Dassani. 281-667-4070.