At Elite Dental of Staten Island, we offer a range of airway and sleep apnea treatments
If your child has experienced some airway problems, read on to find out more about the condition.
Why are children susceptible to airway problems?
Anatomic features of an immature airway, as well as age-related developmental issues and general health susceptibilities often lead to an increased risk for severe airway restriction in young patients. Because many of a child’s features are underdeveloped, there are a number of factors that directly affect the restriction of airways. As such, children’s susceptibility to sleep apnea is often significantly heightened.
What causes airway concerns in children?
When your child sleeps, their muscles naturally relax. When the muscles in the throat and mouth that help to keep the airways open relax, the airway can become obstructed. Developmental issues of the jaw, mouth and throat can directly affect the airway and lead to sleep apnea. Some common causes of these kinds of developmental issues include:
- a family history of sleep apnea
- defects in the structure of the mouth, jaw and throat
- crowded teeth
- excessive spacing of teeth
- speech difficulties
- swallowing and eating difficulties being overweight
- excessive weight
Children with particularly large tonsils and adenoids may also be at higher risk of developing the condition.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a health condition in which breathing stops for short periods of time during sleep. Normally, air flows from the mouth and nose into the lungs — during sleep apnea, however, air flow is stopped at regular intervals throughout the night, often because the airway space in the throat is too narrow.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Because the condition causes disruptions throughout the night, patients with sleep apnea generally experience very poor-quality sleep. This, in turn, leads to daytime sleepiness, drowsiness, and low mood. In children, the condition often leads to hyperactivity and poor school performance.
How are airway issues treated?
We understand the importance of treating airway conditions and promoting the total wellness of our patients, especially since the link between oral function and airway conditions is so important. An unrestricted airway is essential for carrying oxygen to cells in the body, which in turn promotes healthy bodily function. For this reason, we offer a range of treatments, depending on the case.
Treatment options include behavior modification, oral appliance therapy, and continuous positive air pressure (CPAP). Continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) is a common treatment for treating airway issues, which makes use of a specially designed mask that is strapped onto one’s head at bedtime. The device is made of plastic which completely covers the nose and mouth and is connected to a machine with an air hose. Oral appliances are also often very effective, particularly in treating mild to moderate sleep apnea.
In some cases, surgery may be recommended. We will advise you as to whether this is the best option for your child, depending on their specific symptoms and the cause of their airway issues.
We understand the importance of recognizing and treating children’s airway concerns as early as possible. When left untreated, airway issues can worsen over time and become harder to treat at a later stage. At Elite Dental of Staten Island, we offer a range of treatment options for children. We encourage families to attend regular wellness check-ups to ensure the overall well-being of their children.
If you’re not sure if your child’s behavior is linked to airway restriction, take our questionnaire here.
Ready to make an appointment? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here. Dr. Steve Acker and his friendly team at Elite Dental of Staten Island look forward to meeting you in the practice soon!