Sleep Apnea for Children

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Sleep Apnea Treatment for Children

Does your child snore? Do they often appear tired or have trouble concentrating? Does their nose run continuously? Do they play with their mouth open? Does their face look abnormally long? Have they been diagnosed with HDSD?

If you’re seeing these symptoms of sleep apnea, you should consider getting an evaluation. You can begin by visiting your dentist. Dr. Rye is experienced in treating children who suffer from sleep apnea.

Although it sounds rare, up to 4% of children can have sleep apnea. The symptoms begin young and, as with any form of sleep apnea, can be life shortening. How does sleep apnea manifest in children and how can Dr. Rye help treat your child?

Sleep Problems Happen Early In Life

baby-1151346_640Sleep apnea symptoms may become apparent early in your child’s life. If your child has swollen tonsils, this could cause difficulty breathing during sleep and could cause signs of sleep apnea, including mouth breathing. When children can’t breathe through their nose, the mouth is the only other option.

When this happens, the tongue can’t sit properly in the mouth. This means your child could develop a constricted or a narrowed upper archway and as a result, the lower jaw can’t grow properly. All this, from swollen tonsils, could contribute to causing sleep apnea!

Know the Symptoms

The symptoms of adult sleep apnea and child sleep apnea overlap. Children may be extremely tired, wake up frequently during the night, or snore. Your child may act out during the day as a result of their tiredness, despite going to bed on time and getting what seems like a good amount of sleep. They may have trouble at school as a result of their difficulty concentrating and poor behavior.

If you’re able to, observe your child sleeping. Mouth breathing, cessation of breathing for brief periods of time, and snoring could all be indicative of the disorder. Mouth breathing is also not ideal for their teeth as it dries out the oral cavity and can lead to enamel erosion. You can visit Dr. Rye to talk about your child’s symptoms and to see if an evaluation by a sleep specialist may be needed.

brothers-1022994_640How Dr. Rye Treats Children with Sleep Apnea

Dentists, such as Dr. Rye, are often the best screening professional when it comes to childhood sleep apnea because they see your children on a regular basis. You can talk with Dr. Rye about your child’s symptoms and he can discuss recommendations with you.

If your child is found to have sleep apnea, you can receive treatment with Dr. Rye. How does Dr. Rye treat sleep apnea in children?

Your child’s treatment will depend on what could possibly be causing their sleep apnea. If your child has swollen tonsils, removing the tonsils may be their best treatment option. This relieves symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea in about 90% of cases where the tonsils are found to be an issue.

If there’s not a problem with the tonsils, Dr. Rye will talk with you about oral sleep appliances. These appliances are very different from the commonly used continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines. They are comfortable and easy to put in and out of your mouth. Many people find oral sleep appliances a pleasant and effective alternative to CPAP treatment.

Oral sleep appliances keep your child’s airway open so that they can breathe properly while sleeping. This will effectively alleviate symptoms of sleep apnea. They are custom-fitted for your child’s mouth and can be adjusted as necessary as your child gets older. Your child may also need to incorporate some lifestyle changes if another condition is found to be causing his or her sleep apnea, such as obesity.

Dr. Rye can help your child get a good night’s rest, improve their health, and feel better with treatment for sleep apnea. Do you suspect your child may be suffering from sleep apnea? We invite you to make an appointment with us to see Dr. Rye. He can evaluate your child’s symptoms and refer you to a sleep specialist if needed. We look forward to seeing you!

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