Without treatment, pediatric sleep apnea can lead to some serious consequences including a failure to grow, heart problems, or even death.
The first step to receiving a diagnosis is scheduling a consultation with a doctor. A doctor will give your baby or child a physical exam to evaluate their airway, neck, mouth, tongue, tonsils, and adenoids. If they don’t find anything, they may also require that your child or baby takes a sleep test. Sleep tests track oxygen levels, breathing patterns, snoring, heart rate, and muscle activity during sleep. They may also conduct an electrocardiogram to see if there are any signs of a heart condition.
Pediatric Sleep Apnea Treatment
After your baby or child receives a diagnosis for obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor will come up with a treatment plan. Usually, a treatment plan for babies is much different than older children. Treatment might include:
- Topical nasal steroids to ease sleep apnea symptoms for children with mild cases.
- Allergy medications used alone or with steroids
- Tonsil and adenoid removal for moderate to severe sleep apnea.
- Other types of upper airway surgery to improve the airway.
- Positive airway pressure therapy such as CPAP or BPAP machines.
- Oral appliances that expand the nasal passages and palate, hold the tongue in the correct position, or bring the lower jaw forward to expand the airway.
- Myofunctional therapy involves tongue exercises designed to improve the strength and muscles in the mouth and tongue.
What To Do If You Suspect Sleep Apnea
Whether you think one of your children has sleep apnea or maybe you’ve recognized the symptoms in someone else you know, the best thing you can do is encourage them to visit a doctor for a diagnosis. If they’re searching for an effective treatment, they might be a good candidate for oral appliances at our Rochester Hills dental office. If you have questions about sleep apnea or want to learn more about oral appliance therapy, please contact Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness at (248) 480-0085 today.