Contrary to popular belief, sleep apnea doesn’t just affect adults. While less common, children of all ages can also develop sleep apnea. Knowing what to look for and when to get your child evaluated can mean the difference both now and in the long run. Explore these FAQs regarding sleep apnea in children, then call our Windsor dentist to schedule your child’s consultation today!
What Causes Sleep Apnea in Children?
Similar to adults, children face risk factors like excess weight and a family history of sleep apnea. However, as childrens’ jaws and mouths are still developing, other factors including enlarged tonsils or adenoids, jaw size, and tooth position can increase the risk of sleep apnea.
Likewise, certain medical conditions including Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy can increase a child’s risk of developing sleep apnea.
What Symptoms Should I Look For?
Diagnosing sleep apnea in children is especially difficult as often kids have a hard time expressing what is wrong. Knowing what signs to look for can help ensure your child gets the care they need as soon as possible. If you suspect your child is showing signs of sleep apnea, be sure to look for the following:
- Deep snoring with pauses and snorts
- Heavy breathing when sleeping
- Restless sleep and/or sleeping in unusual positions, often with the neck extended.
- Daytime sleepiness and difficulty focusing in school or behavioral problems
What are my Child’s Sleep Apnea Treatment Options?
In most instances, your child will be able to use a CPAP machine just like an adult. However, long-term treatment should also involve looking at the cause of sleep apnea and identifying more permanent solutions. If your child’s OSA is the result of a too small jaw, our Windsor dentist may recommend early intervention braces to reposition the jaw into a more ideal position. If your child is overweight and has sleep apnea, diet changes and exercise may also be recommended in addition to CPAP therapy and braces.
Can my Child Outgrow Sleep Apnea?
Outgrowing sleep apnea depends on the cause 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 fully correct sleep apnea. Diet and exercise can also help alleviate the severity of symptoms in overweight children. The best method of determining whether your child can outgrow sleep apnea is getting the appropriate treatment early on.
When it comes treating sleep apnea, early intervention and treatment can help prevent uninterrupted growth and ensure healthy development. In Windsor, Dr. Roberta Garceau works closely with parents and offsite sleep specialists to ensure children with sleep apnea get the right care. Call today to schedule your child’s consultation!