What is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea?

Children with Obstructive sleep apnoea have an obstruction in the airway of a child, this causes a gradual drop in oxygen reaching the brain during sleep. The brain triggers the child to wake up to get more air in when the oxygen level drops below a critical level. This is repeated many times during the night and the poor child can’t get a good rest, night after night!

Tired child with Obstructive sleep apnoea

Why is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea in kids bad?

Children with obstructive sleep apnoea are chronically tired because of poor sleep. Children with OSA often fall asleep in class; present more often with behavioural problems and may struggle with their grades. Research has also shown that kids with sleep apnoea suffer from physical brain changes.

What causes OSA in children?

Children with OSA often have:

  • Short lower jaws
  • Narrow upper jaw palatal vaults
  • Narrow dental arches
  • Dental crowding
  • Enlarged adenoids
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Enlarged nasal turbinates
  • Severe allergic rhinitis

How can an Orthodontist help my child or teen with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)?

Dentofacial-orthopedics or growth modification for children and teenagers is a useful treatment modality to harness the plasticity of a young patient to correct the skeletal problems causing OSA. Bring your child for an orthodontic assessment as early as 7 years old. This is the age recommended by the American Association of Orthodontics because timing is important for successful treatment outcomes. We must aim for correct diagnosis,  correct treatment implemented at the right age.
Enlarged tonsils and adenoids, infections allergic rhinitis with inflammation of the soft tissues of the airway can also contribute to OSA. As a specialist orthodontic clinic, we not only treat a child’s face, jaw and teeth but also work with specialist pediatric doctors and ENT specialists to manage soft tissue factors of OSA.

Book an OSA consultation today!