S M I L E

How can an Orthodontist help my child or teen with OSA?

 

Sleepy girl yawning
Children and teenagers with obstructive sleep apnoea are chronically tired due to the constant lack of good sleep. Due to airway obstruction, there is a drop in oxygen reaching the brain during sleep and this triggers the child to wake up repeatedly during the night to get air.

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.

Children with OSA often present with skeletal contributing factors such as:

  • Short lower jaws
  • Narrow palatal vaults
  • Narrow dental arches
  • Dental crowding

 

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.

Please bring your child for an assessment as early as 7 years old, which is the age recommended by the American Association of Orthodontics. Timing is important because successful outcomes require correct diagnosis and correct treatment implemented at the right age.

Other common causes of airway obstruction in a young child are enlarged tonsils and adenoids, sometimes with infections. Allergic rhinitis with inflammation of the soft tissues of the airway can also contribute to OSA. Therefore, as a specialist orthodontic clinic, we not only treat a child’s face, jaw and teeth but also work with specialist paediatric doctors and ENT specialists to manage soft tissue factors of OSA.

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