Common Questions Parents Ask About Pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

sleeping woman
April 15, 2024

Do you lie awake at night because you’re worried about your little one’s loud snore? If your child is among the four percent of kids who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you’ll want to book an appointment with a pediatric dentist in Las Vegas, NV. If left unaddressed, this sleep disorder can have a negative impact on their overall quality of life.


What Is Pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

If you think that OSA isn’t a big deal, think again. Children who suffer from this disorder don’t get enough restorative night’s sleep because their upper airway is either partially or fully blocked. Since the airflow is affected, their breathing is briefly and repeatedly stops while they’re sleeping.

While adults who have sleep-disordered breathing usually experience daytime sleepiness, children often present behavioral problems. In some cases, kids with pediatric OSA are misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

What Are Its Symptoms?

Early diagnosis and treatment are key to preventing further complications down the road. Since pediatric OSA can significantly affect your child’s growth, behavior, and cognitive development, you should learn to identify its signs and symptoms:

  • Snoring
  • A nasal voice
  • Sleepwalking
  • Learning problems
  • Morning headaches
  • Hyperactivity during the day
  • Tossing and turning
  • Coughing or choking
  • Night sweats
  • Night terrors
  • Mouth breathing
  • Bedwetting
  • Long pauses between breaths


What Are the Common Causes of Pediatric OSA?

Family History of OSA

Parents can pass down this genetic condition to their kids. If your child inherits the facial features of the parent who suffers from OSA, their chances of having pediatric OSA are greater.


In most cases, adults who are affected by OSA are older and overweight. Likewise, kids who have a high body mass index are more likely to become afflicted by OSA. If your child is overweight, losing weight by proper nutrition and exercise can help ease the symptoms.

Enlarged Tonsils and Adenoids

One of the most common causes of airway blockage among children is enlarged tonsils and adenoids located at the back and to the sides of your child’s throat. If an infection causes them to swell, they can block the airway while your child sleeps. Additionally, dust, pollen, and other environmental irritants can also cause these glands to enlarge.

Impaired Tongue Position

Lip and tongue ties are conditions that can affect the proper function of both the lip and the tongue. Since the tongue plays an important role in breathing, impaired tongue position can have a negative impact on your child’s upper jaw development and cause them to breathe through their mouth.

Narrow Anatomy of the Mouth, Jaw, and/or Throat

The muscles in the mouth, jaw, and throat work together to keep the upper airway open. All of these muscles relax during sleep causing the tissues to fold closer together. If your little one has a narrow airway while awake, falling asleep may cause the passage to become easily obstructed.


What Are the Treatment Options?

Different types of treatments are available for children who experience pediatric OSA. These may include weight management, allergy medications, inhalers, and tonsil and adenoidectomy. However, one of the best ways to treat this condition is through oral appliance therapy.


What Is Oral Appliance Therapy?

Oral appliance therapy is a treatment in which your child wears a custom-designed, two-piece removable device in their mouth to gently widen their upper jaw during sleep. The increase in the size of their upper jaw and the airflow effectively keeps their airway open.

In addition, the device ensures that your child’s lower jaw is moved forward comfortably. This allows the tissue at the back of their throat to relax and prevent the base of their tongue from collapsing and blocking their airway.

Similar to an orthodontic retainer or a sports mouth guard, a pediatric dentist prescribes this appliance. In other words, unless your child is custom-fitted for it, it won’t work.


What If My Child Is Exhibiting Symptoms?

If you and your child’s healthcare provider decide that an oral appliance is the best option for your little one, you’ll want to find a pediatric dentist with expertise in oral appliances for this purpose. The pediatric dentist uses digital 3D software to visualize any issues with their airway. The same digital process enables them to create an impression of your child’s teeth with a high level of accuracy.

Once the device is made, you’ll be called back for your child’s fitting. During this appointment, the pediatric dentist will give you clear instructions on how your child can use and clean the oral appliance.


Are You Looking for a Pediatric Dentist in Las Vegas, NV?

Since every child is unique, the most important first step is a proper diagnosis. If your child’s doctor has diagnosed them with pediatric OSA, be glad to know that the highly skilled dental care team at Dee for Dentist in Las Vegas is here to provide your child with the care they need.

With the use of an advanced custom-fitted oral sleep appliance, your little darling can get immediate relief from the symptoms of pediatric OSA. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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One phone call can help you get a brighter smile. The team at Dee for Dentist is here to answer all your questions. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

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