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Pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Know the Signs and Treatment Options

December 29, 2022

People who believe that sleep apnea is a condition that strikes only adults should know that it can also happen in children. Youngsters can also suffer from this potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. 

In adults, the major risk factors of obstructive sleep apnea are excess weight coupled with advancing age, but in children, the most common cause is enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids. 

Working as part of an interdisciplinary team of specialists, the office of Chicago Office can help to diagnose pediatric obstructive sleep apnea (POSA) and provide orthodontic treatment and oral appliances to support positive airway changes that can alleviate the symptoms and consequences of the ailment.

POSA is a disorder in which your child’s breathing is partially or completely blocked repeatedly during sleep. Your child’s sleep quality is poor because the pauses in breathing interrupt his or her normal sleep cycle. As a result, your child will feel sluggish throughout the next day. 

The condition is due to the narrowing or blockage of the upper airway during sleep. While enlarged tonsils and adenoids are the most common causes, other risk factors such as obesity, low birth weight, and certain diseases and abnormalities of the skull or face can also act as triggers. Left undiagnosed, POSA can lead to major health consequences.

Symptoms to watch for:

  • loud snoring with gasping
  • choking or snorts
  • long pauses in breathing while sleeping
  • bedwetting
  • daytime sleepiness
  • irritability
  • hyperactivity 
  • difficulty concentrating

POSA affects an estimated one to three percent of children. Our office will work with your child’s medical team to diagnose the condition and determine if orthodontic treatment can improve symptoms. One of those treatments is oral appliance therapy, which are custom-made dental mouthpieces that your child wears throughout the night during sleep. The appliances prevent the obstruction of air, helping your child breathe easier and sleep better. 

Chicago Office is dedicated to providing the highest quality pediatric dental care. For more information about our office and our many services, please don’t hesitate to call us today.

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