Saturday, April 18, 2015

Oral devices to treat sleep apnea in children

This article discusses how oral devices can help treat sleep apnea in children.

Snoring and sleep apnea can affect anyone of any age.  For children, who frequently sleep alone, grinding of the teeth or reflux disease may be the first signs of the condition, and may first be noticed by a well-trained dentist.
Snoring and other signs of disturbed sleep, such as long pauses in breathing, tossing and turning in bed, chronic mouth breathing during sleep, and night sweats are possible signs of sleep apnea, according to  The website states that studies suggest that as many as 25% of children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder may actually have symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, and that much of their learning difficulty and behavioral issues can be the result of chronic fragmented sleep.

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, 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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