Even though sleep apnea is most common in adults, it can also affect children. Knowing what symptoms to look for and when to get your child evaluated can help them sleep better and correct the cause before they become an adult. Dr. Bell can help manage your child’s sleep apnea, letting you both sleep better and wake up more alert.
The same risk factors like excess weight and a family history of sleep apnea, that affect adults, can affect children. Another factor that puts children at risk of developing this serious breathing condition is how the mouth and skeleton are developing. As children’s’ jaws and mouths are still developing, factors including enlarged tonsils or adenoids, jaw size, and tooth position can increase the likelihood that a child will suffer from pediatric sleep apnea.
Likewise, certain medical conditions, including Down syndrome and Cerebral Palsy can increase a child’s risk of developing sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea can be hard to diagnose in adults. However, identifying sleep apnea in children can be even more difficult. Due to kids often having a hard time expressing what is wrong, the symptoms are misdiagnosed as ADD or ADHD. Knowing the signs to look for can help ensure your child gets the care they need as soon as possible. Symptoms of pediatric sleep apnea include:
In school-age children with sleep apnea, the daytime fatigue can manifest itself as disruptive behavior in school or trouble focusing. If your child’s teacher brings up these behaviors, it is certainly worthwhile to bring your child in for a screening.
Getting the appropriate treatment early on is the best method of managing your child’s sleep apnea. In most instances, your child will be able to use a CPAP machine. However, long-term treatment should also involve looking at what’s causing the obstruction. If your child’s OSA is the result of a jaw that is too small, our Hallam dentist might recommend early intervention braces to realign the teeth and jaw. Dietary changes and exercise may also be recommended to help treat the underlying causes of sleep apnea.
For most kids who have the condition due to poor bite, jaw size, or tonsil size, treatments like tonsil removal and braces may get rid of their symptoms.
When it comes to treating sleep apnea, early intervention and treatment can help prevent problems with growth and ensure healthy development. Dr. Gordon Bell works closely with parents and off-site sleep specialists to ensure that children with sleep apnea get the best care possible. Contact us today to schedule your child’s consultation!
450 W Market St
Hallam, PA 17406
Monday: 8AM – 5PM
Tuesday: 8AM – 5PM
Wednesday: 10AM - 7PM
Thursday: 7:30AM – 4:30PM