Sleep apnea is a relatively common condition in adults, but it’s rarer in kids. In kids, the most common type of apnea is pediatric obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In this condition, the tissues of the upper airway narrow or block your child’s airway during sleep, interfering with proper breathing.
At Harmony Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we’re here to help. We can provide treatment for children with sleep apnea, such as oral appliance therapy (OAT) to reposition their jaw and airway, and ensure they can sleep peacefully. Contact us now to schedule a consultation and get started.
Pediatric OSA occurs in about 1-5% of children. Sleep apnea occurs in up to 26% of adults, so it’s a lot more common among adults.
If you think that your child has sleep apnea, you should consult with their pediatrician for an exam and diagnosis. Sleep apnea in kids can be very harmful, interfering with proper growth and development.
Depending on the situation, your child’s pediatrician may be able to diagnose them right away, or you may need to see a doctor at a sleep clinic to have your child’s sleep analyzed and to make a final diagnosis.
Based on your child’s diagnosis, treatment could involve oral surgery, building a special night guard to prevent tissue from sagging, or a pediatric CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine.
Adults usually experience symptoms like daytime drowsiness and sleepiness if they have sleep apnea. In kids, this is less common. They are more likely to exhibit behavioral problems, particularly if they are very young.
Your child may have issues paying attention, perform poorly in school, have learning problems, or show other signs like poor weight gain and hyperactivity.
When your child is asleep, you may hear them snore loudly, and there may be large gaps in their breathing. Snorting, coughing, and choking are also common. Kids with sleep apnea may also suffer from bed-wetting, nighttime sweating, and sleep terrors.
Yes. Sleep apnea can affect people of all ages, including kids. Infants, toddlers, older kids, pre-teens, and teenagers of all ages can be affected by sleep apnea.
However, the reasons behind OSA often differ between age groups. In very young children, OSA is typically caused by issues like enlarged tonsils and adenoids. In teenagers and older individuals, OSA is more commonly caused by obesity.
There are a lot of options for treating pediatric sleep apnea. Some may involve oral surgery, like removing the tonsils and adenoids to prevent soft tissue from sagging and blocking the airway.
Oral appliance therapy may also be used as a non-surgical treatment for some kids. This treatment uses a special night guard to reposition the jaws and prevent tissue from sagging and blocking the airway.
A pediatric CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine may be recommended in some cases. This machine sends a stream of gently pressurized air through a nose mask, and this prevents tissue from sagging and blocking the airway.