You're noticing that your child is not sleeping too well at night. You can hear them breathe too hard or snore. You suspect they might have sleep-disordered breathing and are wondering what you can do to help them.
Here at Del Mar Studio, we offer airway dentistry for issues like sleep apnea and other sleep-disordered breathing issues. Here's what to know about these conditions and how to notice the signs.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition where the child has paused breathing patterns. There are two types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea is where there is a blockage in the back of the throat or the back of the nose.
- Central sleep apnea is when the part of the brain that is in charge of breathing is not functioning correctly.
What Are the Signs of Sleep Apnea in Children?
Both types of apneas have interchangeable symptoms, except for snoring. Even though central apnea can also cause snoring, it is more common to occur in obstructive apnea as the airways get blocked.
If you notice these patterns in your child, consult with a specialist:
- Coughing and choking while sleeping
- Loud snoring
- Unusual sleep postures
- Wetting the bed
- Mouth breathing
- Sleep terrors
Sleep apnea symptoms do not occur only during sleeping. Restless sleep impacts their activity during the day as they can feel tired, fatigued, find it hard to wake in the morning, and so on.
Take into account that central apnea sometimes does not manifest through snoring. Some children do not experience any symptoms and the way a parent can detect it is through sleeping patterns.
Untreated sleep apnea can lead to complications where a child’s cognitive abilities are affected, as well as their growth.
What to Do If You Suspect Your Child Has Sleep Apnea?
A pediatrician will examine the child and then refer you to a sleep specialist or an airways dentist expert.
These experts will follow the child’s sleeping patterns, which means that your kid may have to spend the night in a clinic so that they can monitor their brain wave activity, breathing patterns, levels of oxygen, heart rate, and muscle activity.
As we said, sometimes the child does not display exact symptoms of sleep apnea, but their behavior will be influenced by the condition, resulting in irritability and mood swings or hyperactivity.
What Is the Treatment?
There are several treatment options and a specialist will be best suited to establish a plan according to each child’s individual needs.
As mentioned above, dentists can also help in treating sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea by using oral appliance therapy to help keep the airway open.
Del Mar Dental Studio can help you learn more about this condition and the best ways to approach it. Feel free to contact us and schedule your appointment today!