Sound sleep is essential for your child’s general health and overall well-being. A good night’s sleep improves their physical growth, cognitive function, and emotional well-being. Sleep apnea, on the other hand, can interfere with your child’s healthy sleep patterns.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when your child’s breathing stops completely or becomes shallow during sleep. It could be due to a huge tongue or tonsils clogging their airways, the collapse of soft tissues behind the throat, or the brain’s failure to send the right signals required to maintain continuous breathing while sleeping. Lack of proper quality sleep for your child can cause stress, delay their development, leave them with excessive tiredness during the day, and hinder their attention span. Although sleep apnea is more frequent in adults, it can develop in children in rare situations. It is more common in children aged two to eight.
Pediatric Sleep Apnea Symptoms
- Snoring (Snoring is not always present in infants and young children with obstructive sleep apnea).
- Sleep deprivation.
- Pauses in breathing.
- Breathing through the mouth.
- Sweating at night.
- Night terrors.
During the day:
- Poor performance at school.
- Have difficulty paying attention.
- Are hyperactive.
- Have behavioural issues.
- Have learning difficulties.
- Have a difficult time gaining weight.
Make an appointment with your pediatric dentist in Dubai if they wake up weary and have behavioural issues on a regular basis.
Other risk factors for pediatric obstructive sleep apnea include:
- A family history of sleep apnea
- Specific medical disorders, such as:
- Cerebral palsy (CP)
- Down syndrome
- Sickle cell disease
- Abnormalities in the skull or face
- Having a large tongue
What is Airway Dentistry?
Airway dentistry addresses both common and difficult issues concerning a kid’s bite and palate, which can affect how a youngster breathes. An airway dentist will examine the soft tissue, tongue position, palate shape, and jaw alignment of a child. When children are very young, these disorders can be detected and remedied with minimum effort, potentially saving a child years of breathing and health problems as they grow into adulthood.
Orthodontists and Pediatric Dentists play an important role in detecting sleep disorders since they have more frequent interactions with their young patients. They are in a unique position to discover sleep-related breathing issues in kids. They may ensure that every young patient gets evaluated for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and other breathing issues.
Dentists who specialise in airway dentistry have specialised skills in the oral cavity and can diagnose various dental and overall health disorders by simply checking your child’s mouth. You can simply prevent any health concerns in your child by taking them for frequent dental visits and evaluations. When you arrive at the dental office, the dentist will examine your child’s teeth, gums, throat, and mouth to determine if your child is prone to sleep apnea.
If the dentist suspects your child has sleep apnea, they will work with other experts to confirm the diagnosis and provide treatment. To provide comprehensive sleep apnea treatment for children, airway dentists frequently collaborate with sleep therapists, otolaryngologists, and other experts. This multidisciplinary approach guarantees that all elements of the ailment are taken into account.
Airway dentistry can help your child with sleep apnea in many ways
Rapid Maxillary Expansion (RME)
Rapid Maxillary Expansion eventually extends the hard palate, which is the front region of your child’s mouth’s roof. The maxilla includes this bony component. The roof of the mouth serves as the floor of the nasal tube as well. As a result, when it is broadened, the space through which air flows via the nose expands. As a result, more air can enter your child’s throat and lungs, perhaps reducing the collapse of their airway that causes sleep apnea. Your youngster will have a bigger smile and there may be more room for teeth to grow in. These teeth are required to stimulate future jaw bone growth.
This treatment is appropriate for youngsters who are still in their early stages of growth and development – ideally, children in early elementary school (about ages 4 to 10). There may be some minor discomfort during active treatment and after correction. The majority of children do not notice the brace. It has no discernible effect on your child’s eating or speech habits.
Removal of the tonsils and adenoids
Your pediatric dentist, upon evaluation, may recommend your child to a pediatric ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist if they have moderate to severe sleep apnea. Your child’s tonsils and adenoids may be removed by the ENT specialist. To increase the size of the airway, tonsils and adenoids are surgically removed during tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy procedures. Your child may be able to breathe more easily at night after having their tonsils and adenoids removed since it clears up an obstruction in their throat or widens their airway.
Your dentist will go over the advantages and risks with you before suggesting your child for the surgery. They may also discuss other treatment options with you.
Your pediatric dentist in Dubai may recommend dental devices or mouthpieces for your child. The devices aid in the expansion of the palate and nasal passageways.. They could be an option for older kids who are no longer growing facial bones.
Wearing a custom-made oral appliance during sleep helps in repositioning your child’s jaw so that their tongue is held away from the back of the throat, lowering the possibility of obstruction.
Apart from these, your dentist may also recommend your child to a pediatrician or a pediatric nutritionist for weight management. When obesity causes obstructive sleep apnea, it’s critical to consult with a specialist about food changes, exercise, and other safe weight-loss options.
Speak to your pediatric dentist to determine the best treatment option for your child.
Taking your child to the dentist regularly will help in the early detection of sleep apnea. Also visiting the dentist once every six months also ensures good oral health and formation of healthy dental habits early on in your child’s life.
myPediaclinic – the best airway dentistry for kids in Dubai
Our experienced award-winning pediatric dentists at myPediaclinic in Dubai Healthcare City help young children have a stress-free and relaxing visit. Rather than treating symptoms of sleep apnea alone, our integrative airway-centered approach attempts to identify and treat the underlying issues. As one of the most trusted and kid-friendly clinics in the country, the doctors and staff at myPediaclinic are focused on delivering quality treatment and consultation for the long-term health and well-being of their patients.