Necessary Care for Your Child
Sleep apnea is a common medical condition that can carry severe consequences if left untreated. Fortunately, awareness for the disorder is growing. People are recognizing the symptoms earlier and seeking the appropriate professional help. However, there’s still one group who is often misdiagnosed—children.
Children with sleep apnea usually suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Unlike central sleep apnea, if your child suffers from OSA, it means something is blocking their airway and restricting the amount of oxygen they breathe throughout the night. This lack of breathing causes a substantial drop in blood oxygen levels, which can lead to severe health issues, such as a weak heart and shortness of breath.
Furthermore, OSA can cause developmental issues and hinder their overall well-being. If your child suffers from OSA, it can cause them to be irritable and fatigued during the day. Unfortunately, we commonly misdiagnose children with OSA as Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), but researchers have found evidence that the two medical conditions may be linked.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea in Children
Some of the symptoms we notice in children with OSA emulate those seen in adults—loud snoring, restless sleep, and daytime drowsiness. You may also notice your child’s breath fluctuating from silence to loud gasping noises.
Other symptoms of OSA that are common in children are:
- Weight gain
- Night sweats
- Bed wetting
- Academic & behavioral issues
- Mouth breathing during sleep
Causes of Childhood Sleep Apnea
Like we mentioned above, sleep apnea is usually related to developmental issues in children. If your child has an enlarged tongue, jaw, tonsils, or any other part of their oral structure, it can cause obstructive sleep apnea.
Enlarged tonsils and adenoids are regularly found in children with OSA. However, it’s rare to see adults with the same sleep disorder. If your child’s tonsils or adenoids are enlarged, surgery may be necessary to remedy the issue. Additionally, children who are overweight are at an increased risk of developing sleep apnea.
Treatments for Childhood OSA
Frequently, dentists like Dr. Plotka are the first medical practitioners to identify warning signs that could lead to childhood OSA. This happens because dentists specialize in how the airway is structured and functions, and the airway is where OSA occurs.
Dr. Plotka at North Shore Centre for Laser, Cosmetic, & Family Dentistry is an expert in sleep dentistry and sleep apnea care. If he notices your child exhibiting signs of sleep apnea, he’ll ensure your child gets the correct diagnosis and the proper treatment. For questions, concerns, or more information, contact our office at 781-469-1938. Alternatively, you can fill out the submission form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.