top of page
Airway orthodontist for children

AIRWAY AND SLEEP APNEA

A healthy airway is the foundation for proper breathing, sleep, and function.

Early oral habits can be a sign of serious airway problems.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a complex  breathing disorder with multiple causes and contributing factors.  Untreated, obstructed breathing can have a profound impact on quality of life.  Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent complications that can affect a child's growth, cognitive development, behavior, and wellness.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

What to look for in children and adults

PEDIATRIC

  • Teeth grinding

  • Snoring

  • Gasping during sleep

  • Morning headaches

  • Bed-wetting

  • Mouth breathing

  • Restless sleep

  • ADHD like symptoms

  • Hyperactive

  • Difficulty concentrating 

  • Daytime sleepiness

  • Irritability

  • Sleep walking

  • Tongue tie

  • Failure to grow

ADULT

  • Teeth grinding

  • Snoring

  • Gasping during sleep

  • Frequent waking up at night

  • Morning headaches

  • Mouth breathing

  • Restless sleep

  • Difficulty concentrating 

  • Daytime sleepiness

  • Irritability

  • Sleep walking

  • Difficulty controlling medical conditions (diabetest, hypertension, obesity, etc.)

What is the best age to bring your child in for an airway evaluation?

 

The best age is as soon as it is suspected there are airway issues, our youngest patient is 4 years old. The sooner we recognize an airway issue, the greater the chances of achieving harmonious growth and development.

What are the risks of airway obstruction?

 

Airway obstruction will alter the way a child’s jaw and airway form.  Early diagnosis is key to preventing the need for surgical correction when the patient is older.  For children, an obstructed airway can lead to poor sleep quality, impaired cognitive function, and developmental issues.  Untreated obstructive sleep apnea in adults increases risk for insulin resistance, coronary artery disease, heart failure, heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart arrhythmias.

What might be involved in treatment of the airway for kids?

 

Your doctor may order tests to determine if airway obstruction is the issue at hand.  Orthodontists have the ability to change the size and shape of the airway in our growing patients using specific appliances.  Treatment may include referral to another specialist, such as an ear nose and throat (ENT) physician, sleep physician, or myofunctional therapist.  If oral appliances are recommended, an orthodontist can design an appliance to expand the palate and nasal passages, open the airways, or position the lower jaw forward to allow maximum airflow. Commonly used appliances are referred to as a rapid palatal expander (RPE) and mandibular advancement device (MADs).  Only some children benefit from such devices. Your doctor will work with you to find the most appropriate treatment for your child's sleep apnea.

Book a Complimentary Consultation with Dr. Godley

bottom of page