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How Do Pediatric Dentists Identify Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children?

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The average child sleeps for nearly half of their life, with newborn babies sleeping as much as 16 hours a day. Unfortunately, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can disrupt sleep and lead to long-term health problems. A pediatric dentist in Lawrenceville, GA is uniquely positioned to identify OSA symptoms in children and provide treatment before it becomes a major issue.

OSA is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep but can be managed through simple lifestyle changes, oral appliances, or surgery. Parents who are concerned about sleep apnea should call Apple Tree Pediatric Dentistry to book a consultation with Dr. Jeni Kong.  Our team understands the importance of identifying OSA as early as possible and is committed to helping children get the sleep they need for a successful future.

What causes sleep apnea in children?

Though obesity is a common trigger for OSA, this disorder can occur in any child regardless of weight. Most cases are actually associated with a condition called adenotonsillar hypertrophy (ATH), a term used to describe the abnormal growth of the tonsils and adenoids. It also occurs in children with a narrowing of the upper airways due to malocclusion. Children between 2 – 8 are particularly prone to sleep apnea due to their rapidly growing bodies.

What are the symptoms of OSA?

Sleep apnea is associated with snoring and poor breathing during sleep. In fact, children with OSA tend to sleep in an upright position because it allows them to breathe more easily.

Symptoms of OSA include difficulty falling asleep, frequent waking up during the night, and daytime fatigue. Children may have trouble paying attention in school or show signs of hyperactivity.

Parents and caregivers should speak with a medical professional if they are worried about their child's sleep patterns. A pediatric dentist in Lawrenceville, GA may recommend an oral appliance or other solution for their symptoms.

What happens during a sleep apnea assessment?

A sleep apnea assessment at Apple Tree Pediatric Dentistry involves a comprehensive review of your child’s medical history and symptoms. One of our pediatric dentists may perform an examination of the nose, throat, and mouth to check the size of the tonsils and adenoids. Additional tests may be done to determine the cause and severity of the condition.

We know that visiting the dentist can be a stressful experience for many children. Rest assured that we focus on creating a relaxed, friendly environment so your child feels comfortable during their appointment. Our team is gentle and welcoming, and we strive to provide excellent care that puts patients at ease.

How does a pediatric dentist treat sleep apnea?

There are many ways to address obstructive sleep apnea based on our findings. For obese children, weight loss is a key step in improving their overall breathing. Dr. Jeni can also recommend sleeping in positions that are less likely to cause pauses in breathing. Oral appliances may open the airways and alleviate snoring. In some cases, surgery is necessary to address the tonsils or adenoids.

Relieve symptoms of OSA in children

Sleep apnea can have serious health implications when left untreated. If your child has trouble sleeping or snores throughout the night, schedule an OSA assessment with Apple Tree Pediatric Dentistry right away. Our pediatric dentists in Lawrenceville, GA are experienced in identifying and treating this issue in children. Dr. Jeni Kong looks forward to helping your family get the restful sleep they need.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.