Sleep Apnea in Children

You may think being exhausted simply comes with the territory of being a parent (and it does), but there may also be a serious medical condition causing your child to wake up often throughout the night – sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is most commonly found in adults, but in rare cases can also affect children. The Doctors of The Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in Destin & Panama City Beach care about treating your little ones. Read below to learn more about how dentists can treat sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea & Its Effects

Sleep apnea occurs when breathing becomes shallow or pauses completely while you’re asleep. It can be caused by your tongue or tonsils being too large and blocking your airway, the collapse of soft tissues in the back of the throat, or by your brain not sending the proper signals to keep breathing while you sleep.

Sleep apnea causes a lot of problems for children, the most obvious being restless sleep. Other problems can include failure to thrive, slower developmental milestones, excessive sleepiness in the daytime, and attention or behavioral problems – all due to a lack of quality sleep. Sleep apnea is most common in children between 2-8 years old.

About 2-4% of children have sleep apnea, but it is harder to diagnose in children than in adults. One major difference between sleep apnea in children and adults is that children with sleep apnea, unlike adults, often are not overweight. Since children spend half of their time asleep (a parent can dream), healthy sleep is hugely important for their health and development.

Physical Signs of Sleep Apnea:

  • Loud, frequent snoring
  • Frequent night waking
  • Mouth breathing
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Excessive sweating at night
  • Morning headache

Dentistry for Sleep Apnea

Among all primary care doctors, dentists are the most likely to see clues your child might have sleep apnea. A dentist is a trained professional who spends a lot of time looking at your mouth. And by looking in your mouth, they can tell a lot about your overall health and how your body is functioning. Routine dental visits play an important role in preventing many health problems.

By the looks of your child’s mouth, gums, teeth, and throat, a dentist can easily tell if your child might have sleep apnea. Children with teeth – even children as young as a year old – should regularly visit the dentist. Dentists are experts in helping your entire mouth, face, and neck work together to be as healthy as possible. This goes for everything from good nutrition to good sleep. If your dentist believes your child may have sleep apnea, they will work with other doctors to confirm and treat the diagnosis.

In many cases, your dentist will be able to offer an oral appliance, or mouthpiece, as a non-surgical solution. While weight is rarely an issue for children with sleep apnea, in some cases, weight-loss will be recommended. Treating allergies may also improve your child’s breathing while he/she sleeps. In some serious cases, surgery will be recommended.

If you think your child may have sleep apnea, or if you’d like to learn more about caring for your child’s dental and oral health, contact your Destin & Panama City Beach dentists at The Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry today to make an appointment.


Sources

http://www.dentaleconomics.com/articles/print/volume-103/issue-6/features/childhood-sleep-apnea.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3304178/

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sleepapnea

http://pediatrics.about.com/cs/sleep/a/sleep_apnea.htm

https://www.fpwr.org/is-a-sleep-study-on-your-to-do-list/

Dr. Dennis Lichorwic, DMD was born in Cleveland, Ohio, received his Bachelor of Science from Syracuse University, his dental degree from the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry, and is a graduate of the world renowned Dawson Academy for Advanced Dental Studies. Dr. Lichorwic’s passion is improving smiles with conservative cosmetic procedures. He believes a beautiful smile is an important social asset, as it can increase confidence and have a positive impact on overall appearance and personality. Dr. Dennis Lichorwic is the President and founder of The Center for Cosmetic and Family Dentistry. He is a sustaining member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, which is recognized as the premiere association for cosmetic dentistry in the world. He has served as the President of the Florida Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry where he continues to serve on the board. Dr. Lichorwic is a 2010 Graduate of the Comprehensive Implant Residency Program in Birmingham, Alabama. lichorwic and wifeDr. Lichorwic lectures throughout the country helping other dentists improve their skills in the areas of cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, and Invisalign®. His work has been published in national dental magazines and he’s won several national and state-wide awards for his beautiful, natural smiles. The practice has been featured in such magazines as Inc. magazine and Florida Trend for its quality, innovation, and success.

Posted in Blog, Dental Health, Dental Services, Patient Care

Leave a Reply

Call Us Today!

Destin - (850) 792-8600
Panama City Beach - (850) 307-5757




Schedule Appointment



Do not include sensitive personal, financial, or other confidential information (social security, account number, login, passwords, etc.).

"My visit, care and dental treatment was excellent! Very professional all around."
- Mark M.
To schedule an appointment Click Here