Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that affects breathing during sleep in both adults and children. It can have an important impact on growth, development and behavior in affected children.
Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing that occur during sleep. These episodes are due to the partial or complete collapse of the upper airway, affecting tissues within the throat or at the base of the tongue. Despite the similarities to how Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs in adults, children may have unique signs of the disorder.
Some of these findings include:
Snoring, witnessed pauses in breathing, gasping or choking, mouth breathing, teeth grinding or clenching, sweating at night, restless sleep, night terrors, sleepwalking, bedwetting, morning headaches, daytime sleepiness, naps in older children, ADHD, and growth problems.
There are effective treatment options available including tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, allergy treatment, continuous positive airway pressure, myofunctional therapy, weight loss.
In addition to these modalities of treatment, an orthodontic procedure called Palatal Maxillary Expansion is used to widen the hard palate and the nasal passages. This is performed with a specialized appliance at the roof of the mouth. In addition to opening up the nasal passages, the widening of the palate leaves more room for the tongue to be placed properly.