Sleep apnea is defined by the Sleep Foundation as “a condition marked by abnormal breathing during sleep,” including “extended pauses in breath then they sleep.” Such lapses in breathing lead to poor sleep and potentially serious health consequences. When a child has sleep apnea, it becomes that much more of a concern, for potential affects on healthy growth and development. Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- frequent mouth breathing, especially when sleeping;
- chronic snoring;
- crowded baby teeth;
- difficulty concentrating;
- tiredness or lethargy, despite a full night’s sleep.
Sleep apnea can be caused by deformations in the nose and throat, but also by dental issues. If your child shows any number of the symptoms above, or you suspect they might be dealing with sleep apnea, contact your medical provider for a sleep assessment. Since dental issues may also be a source of sleep apnea, the Yuba City Dentistry Group can analyze your child’s dental status to see if their oral health may be leading to sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Solutions for Children
An examination at the Yuba City Dentistry Group helps to determine the source of your child’s sleep apnea. If the issue is within the nose and throat — enlarged tonsils or obstruction from a deviated septum, for instance — then referring to your medical provider is the best course of action. An examination from your dentist, however, may reveal possible causes stemming from teeth alignment or an abnormality in the palate. To confirm such an issue, your dentist may request an at-home sleep test to solidify the diagnosis.
Our dentists at the Yuba City Dentistry Group know it’s important to address the source of the sleep apnea, not just the symptoms. After your dentist analyzes the results, they may recommend orthodontics, palate spreaders, or other oral appliances to adjust palate or teeth alignment, allowing your child to breathe more freely as they sleep.
Keeping Watch on Sleep Apnea
Since sleep apnea happens while sleeping, your child does not realize they stop breathing during sleep. Likewise, since they are often sleeping at the same time you do, you might not suspect anything unless you check on them while they are sleeping. Symptoms like tiredness, difficulty concentrating, and lethargy are typically your first signs that something might be wrong. Also listen to any reports from schoolteachers or classmates about a sudden or gradual drop in their performance and a listlessness in class or at playtime.
Sleep apnea can develop into a life-changing issue, even a life-threatening one. In most cases, sleep apnea in children can be treated successfully, and the sooner it’s diagnosed, the better. That makes your semiannual appointments with the Yuba City Dentistry Group that more advantageous. Not only do we help you maintain your oral health, but the health of your child’s sleep as well. For more information, give our office a call or use our online form to schedule a convenient visit for you and your child.