Does Your Child Have Sleep Apnea?

family dentistrySleep apnea is a condition where breathing stops or pauses periodically during sleep. In the United States, approximately 2 to 4% of Americans have sleep apnea that goes undiagnosed. Sleep apnea can become dangerous because it causes a lack of oxygen to be delivered to the brain.

Sleep apnea often occurs in older patients or those who are overweight. Patients with a neck measurement of 15 inches or more are generally considered at risk for developing sleep apnea. However, while sleep apnea often exists in older patients, it can also develop in children.

What Is Sleep Apnea?
There are two different kinds of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, and central sleep apnea. OSA is the most common form of sleep apnea and is caused by a blocking of the upper airway by the throat muscles. Central sleep apnea is less common and occurs when the brain fails to send signals to the body telling it to breathe. This kind of sleep apnea mostly occurs in adults and is often the result of a head injury.

While dangerous in adults because of its ability to cause heart problems and obstruct peaceful sleep, sleep apnea can be particularly harmful to children because the lack of oxygen and obstructive sleep can lead to difficulties in growth, behavior, and learning as well as health.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Obstructed sleep apnea is typically caused by an over-relaxation of the throat muscles. That is, the throat relaxes too much while the child or adult is asleep, causing the airway to temporarily collapse and making it difficult to breathe.

One of the most common causes in children’s OSA is enlarged tonsils, which can block the airway while the child is sleeping even if the muscles of the throat are not relaxed. Additional factors in OSA development include structural defects of the jaw, a family history of OSA, and being overweight.

What Are Sleep Apnea Symptoms?
You may begin to be suspicious of your child suffering from OSA if they are experiencing unusual signs of exhaustion. You may also be able to tell if they wake up periodically throughout the night. However, many sufferers of OSA often are not aware that they have woken up in the middle of the night. Other symptoms of potential OSA in children include:

  • Unusual bedwetting
  • Restless sleep
  • Heavy breathing
  • Snoring
  • Pauses of breath while sleeping or other gasps or snorts
  • Unusual behavioral problems while awake

Is There a Sleep Apnea Treatment?
If you have suspicions that your child is suffering from sleep apnea, consult your pediatrician. Doctors will most likely have your child undergo a sleep study where their breathing is monitored while they sleep. Should OSA be diagnosed, your child can be treated using a CPAP machine.

A CPAP machine continuously pushes air into a person’s airway to keep the throat muscles from collapsing while they sleep. However, because some adults often find CPAP machines to be uncomfortable, there may be a chance that your child feels the same.

Other treatments for your child can be found through family dentistry. A dentist may provide your child with an oral appliance, which keeps the jaw gently separated. The lower jaw is pushed into a forward position while the appliance is worn, which keeps the throat from obstructing the airway while the person sleeps.

If you believe your child is suffering from sleep apnea and they find a CPAP machine uncomfortable, consult your family dentistry about oral appliances. However, should you choose to use an oral appliance through your family dentistry, be sure to consult your child’s pediatrician to ensure the appliance is effectively working.

Now Is the Time to Use Cosmetic Dentistry to Improve Your Appearance

Cosmetic dentist in beverly hills

It was a comment that is hard to forget.
You were subbing in a classroom full of children you had known for a long time. As a room full of first through third graders, you had been substitute teaching the majority of these children since there were three years old and where in preschool.
The comment was made as you had the whole class lined up at the door getting ready to go out for recess. Almost everyone was quiet when the third student in line said, “Why is that one tooth crooked and a different color?”
Now, it was silent. Used to dodging all kinds of questions as you made your way through several classrooms as you subbed in classrooms of all ages, you simply explained that was a chipped tooth from when you were little. Your answer set of a flurry of conversations about every t Continue reading

Answering Your Questions About Flossing

Teeth cleaning kits

Did you know that gum disease affects more than 75% of people in the United States? As many as 64.7 million American adults suffer from mild, moderate, or severe periodontitis, which is an advanced form of periodontal disease.

Tooth decay is an epidemic among the U.S. population. Fortunately, there are several things you can do at home to protect yourself from poor oral hygiene conditions. One such solution is regular flossing or interdental cleaning.

Frequently Asked Questions About Interdental Cleaning

  1. What does floss do?
    Floss removes food trapped in between the teeth before the bacteria has a chance to harden and become plaque. Plaque eventually becomes tartar, which is a hard mineral deposit that forms on teeth and causes gum disease. Flossing is essential Continue reading

Want a Better Looking Smile? Consider these Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures

Dental care

Nearly all Americans think their smile is important to their lives. Approximately 99.7% of adults in the United States think their smile is important to their social lives. Nearly 96% see their smile as being important to attracting romantic partners. To that end $1.4 is spent every year on whitening products across the nation. There are a number of cosmetic dentistry procedures that people can get. The following are the most popular.

Porcelain veneers: When a cosmetic dentist applies a light, thin porcelain layer to the front of the teeth allowing the dentist to alter the size, color and shape of the teeth for a better looking smile. If you have tried professional tooth whitening and not gotten the results you want because your teeth are too stained or discolored, porcelain veneers may Continue reading

Why Baby Teeth are So Important

Pediatric dentist signal mountain

Keeping your teeth clean and maintain good oral health could be one of the most important things you do. You want to try and keep that beautiful smile as long as you possible can. Of course there are alternatives available if you do lose your teeth: implants, dentures, bridges, crowns, etc. but if at all possible, maintaining our natural teeth is the best course of action. In order to do that we’ve got to start rigth away. Which means taking care of our little ones teeth as soon as they start popping through. You might wonder what the point is in brushing and flossing those little baby teeth when they’re just all going to fall out anyway. Here Continue reading