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Bull Valley Dentistry Unscrambles Pediatric Breathing Disorders

Posted July 20, 2015.

When many people hear and talk about airway disorders, they think of older, heavier adults snoring while they sleep, but airway disorders are just as prevalent in children as they are in adults. Does your child have a hard time breathing? If so, the following information might help you make decisions and solve problems that will greatly improve your child’s life.

Signs and Symptoms
Some symptoms of airway and sleep disorders might include mouth breathing, halitosis, excessive movements while sleeping, and occasional snoring. Your child might even have a hard time concentrating on tasks. For more common symptoms, you can assess the BEARS questionnaire, which stands for:

B: Bedtime Issues
E: Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
A: Night Awakenings
R: Regularity and Duration of Sleep
S: Snoring

Screening for Pediatric Sleep Apnea
In addition to traditional screening questions, Dr.  may examine the oral cavity for signs of sleep apnea, which may include obstructive tonsils, mouth breathing, venous pooling under the eyes, and a high, narrow palate. If there are signs detected, your child might be referred to a sleep specialist.

Effects of Mouth Breathing and Incorrect Tongue Posture
Sleep and breathing habits can have a deep impact on the growth and development of the face and airway, even if your child does not have sleep apnea. The strength and position of the oral cavity can have dramatic effects on the growth and development of your child’s facial structure and arches. When one breathes through the mouth, the tongue cannot expand the arches of the mouth laterally and anteriorly, which can cause the teeth to collapse inward and it can produce a lack of vital tongue pressure. It can also cause dry, cracked lips and swollen gingival margins.

Treatment
The first step of treatment is to determine how drastically the nose is obstructed and why. Sometimes, a sleep study is warranted and other times a nasoendoscopy is performed, which involves the doctor praying an anesthetic in the nostril and using a fiber-optic camera to view inside the nose. Depending on what is found, nasal saline rinses and nasal steroid spray may be recommended for treatment. There are also times when doctors recommend removing the adenoid tissue that is obstructing the airway, which is considered to be an adenoidectomy. However, there are other alternative therapies that can help the situation, like:

• Treatment for food or environmental allergies
• Cranial osteothapy
• Nasal strips
• Constant nasal breathing

What to Do Now
Call our office today and schedule an appointment with our dentist. If you talk to your dentist about pediatric sleep disorders, he will be able to detect any symptoms and give you advice on treatments to use or other doctors to see. We look forward to helping you and your child live a better and healthier life!

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