Snoring occurs when the flow of air through the mouth and nose is physically obstructed. Blocked nasal passages, poor muscle tone in the throat and tongue, bulky throat tissue (common in overweight patients), and a long soft palate or uvula can contribute to airflow obstruction.
Oral appliances for treatment of pediatric obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can be helpful, especially in adolescents whose facial bone growth is largely incomplete. One device, according to www.sleepapnea.com, which rapidly expands the transversal diameter of the hard palate over a six-month to one-year period, has been successfully used in patients as young as age six.
In the United States, oral devices to treat OSA can’t be sold over the counter. They must be prescribed by a physician and fitted by a dentist. An oral breathing device used to treat pediatric OSA must be refitted periodically as the child grows.
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