All About Airway Treatments

What is airway orthodontics?

Airway orthodontics focuses on your child’s airways and ability to breathe easily. It focuses on children who have trouble breathing while they sleep because of partially or fully obstructed airways.

This condition is known as obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. It’s found in 5 percent of children and is associated with a high risk of severe medical problems such as learning and behavioral problems, heart disease, impaired growth, and failure to thrive.

Complications from OSA

  • Facial and jaw deformities
  • Growth hormone deficiency or stunted growth
  • Lung disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Congestive heart failure (heart enlargement)
  • Decreased IQ
  • Insulin resistance

 

Warning Signs

Here are the signs of OSA to watch for in your child:

  • Snoring or labored breathing
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Difficulty in school
  • Aggression
  • Bed wetting
  • Ear/sinus infections
  • Mouth breathing or snoring
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Drowsiness during the day

While all of these symptoms have multiple causes, if you notice that your child is experiencing several of them together, it may be worthing finding out if OSA is the root of the problem.

 

Causes of Obstructed Airways

There are several conditions that can cause OSA, and each one is treated differently.

Some of the most common causes are:

  • Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
  • Obesity or being overweight
  • Genetic disorders
  • Narrow palate
  • Crossbite
  • Crowding in your child’s mouth

Some of these conditions require surgery or the use of a CPAP machine. Some causes can be improved with orthodontic treatment.

 

Orthodontic Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

At David Ross Orthodontics, we can effectively treat OSA caused by a narrow palate, a crossbite, or crowding in your child’s mouth.

We recommend that all children visit an orthodontist by age seven, but it’s especially important if you think your child may be struggling with OSA. We’ll be able to determine a treatment plan that will have your child sleeping peacefully as soon as possible.

At your free exam, Dr. Ross will evaluate whether your child’s breathing can benefit from a palatal expander or early treatment for crowding or bite problems. The best way to reduce the complications of OSA is to start treating the problem early.