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Jonelle Grant Anamelechi, DDS
Pediatric Sleep Apnea and Dentistry
Children’s Choice Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
. http://www.mychildrenschoicedental.com

Pediatric Sleep Apnea and Dentistry

<strong>Pediatric Sleep Apnea and Dentistry</strong>

Pediatric sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that affects a significant number of children. Parents should be aware of the role that pediatric dentistry and orofacial myofunctional therapy play in addressing pediatric sleep apnea.

What Is Pediatric Sleep Apnea?

Pediatric sleep apnea is a condition where a child’s breathing is repeatedly disrupted during sleep, leading to periods of reduced oxygen supply to the body. These interruptions in breathing may occur due to a blockage in the airway or a lack of neural control of breathing. This condition can cause fragmented sleep, daytime drowsiness, behavioral issues, and negative effects on growth and development.

Signs and Symptoms Parents Should Watch Out For

Parents should be vigilant in observing potential signs of pediatric sleep apnea in their children. Common symptoms include loud snoring, restless sleep, gasping or choking during sleep, bedwetting, daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and morning headaches. 

Role of a Pediatric Dentist

Pediatric dentists play a crucial role in diagnosing and managing pediatric sleep apnea. During routine dental visits, they can identify dental and craniofacial abnormalities that may contribute to sleep apnea symptoms. They may recommend a referral to a sleep specialist for a comprehensive evaluation if sleep apnea is suspected. In some cases, pediatric dentists may provide oral appliances that help maintain an open airway during sleep, improving breathing patterns and reducing symptoms.

How an Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist Can Help

An orofacial myofunctional therapist is a specialized healthcare professional who focuses on the muscles and functions of the face, mouth, and throat. They can play a vital role in the treatment of pediatric sleep apnea. By addressing orofacial muscle dysfunction and improper swallowing patterns, they can help improve airway function and reduce the severity of sleep apnea symptoms. Through targeted exercises and therapies, they work to correct any underlying issues and promote proper oral and facial development.

Thrive Program at Children’s Choice Pediatric Dentistry

Children’s Choice Pediatric Dentistry offers a unique program called Thrive, which combines the expertise of a pediatric dentist and an experienced orofacial myofunctional therapist. This program aims to effectively retrain a child’s orofacial muscles, correcting functional issues while enhancing their facial appearance. Thrive utilizes myofunctional therapy, often described as “physical therapy for the mouth,” to strengthen and optimize oral muscle function, leading to improved breathing, reduced sleep apnea symptoms, and enhanced overall health.

Pediatric sleep apnea is a condition that requires a multidisciplinary approach for effective management. Parents should be aware of the signs and symptoms of pediatric sleep apnea and seek the expertise of a pediatric dentist if they suspect their child may be affected. Additionally, the integration of orofacial myofunctional therapy, such as the Thrive program offered by Children’s Choice Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, can provide valuable support in addressing the underlying causes of sleep apnea and promoting optimal oral and facial development. By taking a comprehensive approach, parents can help their children achieve restful sleep and maintain optimal health.

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