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Sleep Disordered Breathing in Children – Rexburg, ID

Recognizing the Symptoms for Effective Treatment

Is your child unable to rest well at night? Do they struggle to breathe freely when sleeping? Do they appear fatigued or irritable throughout the day? The truth is that while there are many reasons why your child can be experiencing these symptoms, one of the most common causes might be sleep disordered breathing (SDB) or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). At Cornerstone Dental of Rexburg, our team of professionals is here to deliver proven treatment methods to address oral development issues and improve your child’s ability to breathe. With the HealthyStart program, you can begin to see a dramatic difference in the way your child acts and functions on a daily basis. To learn more about the program and what you need to know about SDB, contact us to schedule an appointment today.

How Does SDB Develop in Children?

A young girl wearing a white blouse and smiling wide while seated outside

When your child is asleep, SDB and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can occur when the tissues found in the throat collapse and cause a blockage preventing air from flowing freely through the upper airway and nasal passage. As a result, your child’s sleep may be frequently interrupted, and the oxygen in their blood may decrease.

Why this happens can be attributed to numerous causes, including:

Symptoms of SDB

A little girl asleep in bed with her mouth wide open

Although some signs of SDB are easily mistaken for other conditions like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), it’s necessary that you be mindful of the following symptoms, as they can cause your child to develop SDB or OSA:

Unsuspecting Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

sad little girl being embraced by mom

Are you wondering whether or not your little one has sleep apnea? You may be surprised to learn that most symptoms are easy to miss. In addition, they’re often attributed to other things like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or your child simply growing up and acting like a kid. Fortunately, you can get your child the care they need by keeping an eye out for some unsuspecting symptoms of sleep apnea. If you notice any of the following, don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule an appointment. We’ll make sure your little one enjoys better sleep in no time!

Mouth Breathing

young boy sleeping with mouth open

You may think that mouth breathing is a funny or harmless quirk that your child will eventually outgrow, but it’s far more serious than that. If your child is breathing through their mouth regularly, it’s likely because they aren’t breathing or swallowing correctly. Unless this is addressed, it can lead to short- and long-term oral health issues. It can even disrupt the development of their facial structures!

Bed Wetting

child accidentally wet pants

Bed-wetting before the age of 7 isn’t usually a cause for concern, mainly because your child may still be developing nighttime bladder control. However, you might want to consult their pediatric dentist or doctor if this habit continues after age 7. It’s sometimes an indication of obstructive sleep apnea in children.

Night Terrors

young girl with night terror

As a parent, you’ve likely had to comfort your child after the occasional nightmare in the past. Well, a night terror is much more disruptive than that. It can cause your little one to become inconsolable, no matter what you try. It’s typically caused by over-arousal in the central nervous system (CNS) during sleep. A night terror is not typically considered a dream, but more so a sudden reaction of fear that happens during the transition from one sleep stage to another.

ADHD/ADD Symptoms

child in school not paying attention

Attention deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that affects millions of children. It encompasses a combination of persistent problems, like difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. If you notice any of the following symptoms, your little one may have ADHD:

  • Daydreaming
  • Fatigue
  • Forgetfulness or trouble concentrating
  • Irritability or Behavioral/social issues at home

How the Healthy Start Program Can Help

young girl smiling while visiting dentist

Think your child may have sleep apnea? Don’t wait – it’s always best to seek treatment sooner rather than later! At Cornerstone Dental, we can address the problems associated with sleep-disordered breathing and help your child enjoy a better overall quality of life. Our team will conduct a detailed oral examination, discuss the issues they’re facing at home, take impressions of their smile, and send them off to a lab for the creation of a custom-made oral device. Not only will this appliance help them rest better, but it can fix their tongue placement, jaw, and teeth alignment! It can even put a stop to any structural changes that occur because of improper breathing.

The Connection Between SDB & Bed Wetting

Current research suggests that the connection between sleep disordered breathing and bed wetting is the result of the body’s response to a lack of oxygen. When your child stops breathing, their carbon dioxide levels rise, causing their blood to become more acidic. This signals to their body that something is wrong. When their breathing resumes, their heart releases a special protein that signals the release of sodium and water, resulting in a need to urinate. Since this cycle happens repeatedly throughout the night, it’s easy to see why bet wetting can become a frequent occurrence.

The Effects of Bed Wetting & Sleep Disordered Breathing

One of the biggest effects of bed wetting in children is a lack of confidence. In fact, it’s not uncommon for those with nocturnal enuresis to experience disrupted social skills, anxiety, and behavioral problems. As for disordered breathing, there are both short-term and long-term effects to consider. In the immediate future, your little one may suffer from things like daytime drowsiness and difficulty concentrating. In the long run, there are other consequences to consider, like frequent illness and damage to their immune system.

Solutions for Bed Wetting from Sleep Apnea in Kids

Fortunately, our team at Cornerstone Dental is here to provide your child with the help they need to breathe soundly throughout the night and prevent the side effects of sleep apnea, such as bet wetting. One solution is VIVOS, which is an oral appliance that is designed to re-establish a normal, healthy airway. In addition to preventing their airway from becoming blocked, this solution will ensure your child’s bite develops properly too. So, if your child is struggling with nocturnal enuresis and you believe that sleep apnea is the culprit, talk to our team about the available solutions!

Mouth Breathing

Young boy mouth breathing while asleep

Mouth breathing, whether it occurs during the night or when your child is awake, is a common indicator of sleep disordered breathing. It means your child could be at risk of OSA! Our team is ready to evaluate your child’s airway and guide you on your next steps. We want your little one to breathe easily and avoid the complications that often result from mouth breathing.

Why Does My Child Breathe Through their Mouth?

Young girl breathing through her mouth

Usually, mouth breathing is the result of a child’s inability to breathe comfortably through their mouth. This can be caused by anatomical issues, such as a deviated septum or other nasal obstructions.

Other possible causes of mouth breathing include:

  • Nasal congestion caused by a cold or allergies
  • Tongue tie, which causes the mouth to remain open most of the time
  • A child has simply developed the habit of mouth breathing

Additional Symptoms of Mouth Breathing

Little girl covering her mouth, wearing worried expression

If you have noticed that your child often breathes through their mouth, you are already well on your way to determining if they are a true “mouth breather.” However, other symptoms may also be present. For example, your child might:

  • Snort when they cry or laugh
  • Snore during sleep
  • Breathe loudly
  • Grind their teeth

It is also common for mouth breathers to experience an increased risk of dental problems. That is because breathing through the mouth can dry out saliva. In turn, oral bacteria have an opportunity to cling to the teeth and multiply. Cavities, bad breath, and gum infections may result.

Keep in mind as well that there is such a thing as a “partial mouth breather.” Some children can breathe well through their nose when they are awake. However, when they lie down, slight shifts in their orofacial structures might cause mouth breathing to occur.

How We Can Help

Relaxed young boy reclining in dental treatment chair

If you are concerned about your child’s mouth breathing, bring them in for a visit with our experienced team. After a thorough evaluation, we should be able to determine the cause of the problem. From there, we can recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

For example, if a tongue tie is present, we can perform a simple procedure to free up the tongue. Thereafter, your child might require therapy to learn how to hold their tongue in its proper position and adopt healthier breathing habits. If a narrow jaw is the problem, we may recommend a form of orthodontia to guide the growth of the oral structures.

Whatever course of action we recommend, you can be confident that we will guide your family through every step of the process. Feel free to ask lots of questions. We want you and your child to commit to the treatment with confidence.

How is SDB Diagnosed?

A little boy wearing a striped shirt and playing with blocks expresses his happiness

The first step in diagnosing SDB in your child is to schedule a consultation with their medical physician. After answering a series of questions about your child’s health history and current symptoms, it may be necessary for your little one to undergo a sleep study. This will allow a sleep expert or physician to analyze data accumulated while your child sleeps that looks at their breathing patterns, oxygen levels, blood pressure, and heart rate.

Once the information is collected and reviewed, a formal diagnosis will be provided to you and your child. It is at this time that our team at Cornerstone Dental of Rexburg can step in to assist in providing the necessary treatment.

Effective Treatment for Children with SDB

A young girl wearing a purple shirt listens closely in school while doing her work

Knowing how to treat SDB will be based on what is causing it in the first place. If your child’s inability to breathe and sleep at night is the result of improper development of the jaw and/or teeth, the HealthyStart program is a great way to help them start getting the rest they need while addressing what can become serious oral development issues. With the help of a custom-made orthodontic appliance, your child can adapt quickly to wearing the device at night while sleeping.

Not only can it cease non-nutritive habits like thumb sucking, but it can also help correct jaw development and positioning to ensure air flows freely when your child is asleep.

If you are unsure if your dental insurance company will cover the cost of treatment, don’t be afraid to talk to a member of our team who will be happy to help. Not only will we file any necessary paperwork and claims on your behalf, but we’ll also provide alternative payment methods to help with any out-of-pocket expenses.

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