Does your child seem drowsy during the day? Does he or she snore or wake up breathless in the middle of the night? They could have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – a chronic condition where breathing stops periodically during sleep because soft tissue is relaxing and obstructing the airway. These periodic stops can happen as many as 20-30 times in an hour and cause a lack of oxygen to the brain, waking up your child so that they restart proper breathing. All that waking up can leave one pretty sleepy the next day – even if they don’t remember waking up!
Untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can affect school work and overall alertness as well as raise your child’s risk of serious health problems down the road. These include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Chronic acid reflux
- and even Depression
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology (ENTs) sleep disordered breathing affects approximately 12 percent of children.
Luckily, sleep apnea is easily treatable. It just needs to be diagnosed. That’s where you come in: if your child has any of the following symptoms, bring them to see us for a complimentary consultation at Lenz Orthodontics. The earlier the better! Symptoms can be caught and as early as age 3 or 4!
Here’s what to look for:
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping (tossing and turning or night sweats)
- Loud snoring at night
- Waking up at night short of breath
- Long pauses in breathing
- Chronic mouth breathing during sleep
- Snorting or choking sounds during the night (indicating a restart of breathing)
- Extreme drowsiness throughout the day
- Changes in mood, misbehaviour or decline in school performance
- Hyperactivity or inattention (in some cases children who are diagnosed with ADHD are actually not hyperactive but rather are showing the clinical symptoms of OSA.
Orthodontists are leading specialists in spotting Sleep Apnea early because of our familiarity and expertise in working with the soft tissue in children’s mouths. Looking for these symptoms also falls neatly in line with the Phase 1 treatment philosophy of promoting proper jaw development for young kids so that braces, when they’ve hit their pre-teen years, are a simpler process. As both an Orthodontist and parent, Dr. Lenz makes a point of asking all parents if they’ve noticed any of these symptoms when he first consults with new patients.
If your child is exhibiting any of these symptoms, bring them in for a complimentary consultation. If we see signs of sleep apnea we will get your child into the care of a sleep physician who can help with a treatment plan and make sure your kids are sleeping soundly!
While Sleep Apnea can have very serious side effects, it’s very treatable. The most important thing you can do is pay attention and have your child evaluated.
Making the decision about who should treat your child’s mouth is an important one. As a board certified orthodontist, Dr. Mark Lenz has 35 years of experience in orthodontic practice and thousands of beautiful smiles credited to his name. We call it the Lenz Smile!
Please call one of our conveniently located offices (in Racine and Waterford) to schedule an appointment for a complimentary consultation. We offer easy flexible financial installment options. Call us to schedule your appointment today.
1558 South Green Bay Road
Racine, Wisconsin 53406
725 Cornerstone Crossing
Waterford, Wisconsin 53185