san marcos tmj dentist sonny eslampour dds
Sonny Eslampour, DDS
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Sleep Apnea and Children

Sleep apnea in children may be even a worse problem than sleep apnea in adults!

Sleep Apnea & The Child's Development

Children with sleep apnea suffer from the same problems as adults with sleep apnea. But they have the added burden of growth and childhood in the mix. As a consequence of poor school performance and lack of normal physical development, these children experience a "rough childhood". These negative experiences eventually impact the child's view of him or herself. The child begins to lose self confidence and develop other more severe emotional problems and eventually mood disorders. Their life is never allowed to develop to its fullest because they simply couldn't get restful sleep to promote their proper growth and development.

Treatment For Children With Sleep Apnea

Fortunately, when steps are taken early on, the child will follow a normal growth cycle. In children with sleep apnea sometimes taking the tonsils and adenoids out will resolve the problem entirely. And that is wonderful news. However, in some children, there might be need for additional early therapy (such as orthodontics) to allow for development of a better airway. 

How Can You Tell If Your Child Has Sleep Apnea?

What are some of the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea in children?  There are a number of symptoms associated with this disorder as follows:

Snoring - loud, squeaky, raspy
Nocturnal snorting, gasping, choking (may wake self up)
Restless sleep
Heavy irregular breathing
Excessive sweating during sleep
Abnormal and severe bedwetting
Bad dreams (nightmares)
Night terrors
Sleeps with mouth open, causing a dry mouth upon awakening
Chest retraction during sleep in young children (chest pulls in)

Sleeping in strange positions
Confusion upon awakening
Morning headaches
Unrefreshing sleep
Excessive daytime sleepiness

May develop high blood pressure
May be overweight or underweight
Learning problems
Excessive irritability
Change in personality
Difficulty concentrating
Developmental problems
Failure to thrive or grow
Frequent upper respiratory infections
Hyperactive behavior

Sleep Apnea and A.D.D.

Most children with sleep apnea are sometimes diagnosed as having A.D.D. or A.D.H.D. This is because they cannot sit still enough to concentrate because they start falling sleep. These children are then placed on powerful prescription medication with serious side effects to treat their "alleged" condition. These medications typically contain a sedative to make the child more calm! Imagine not getting a full night sleep, then taking a sedative on top of that and then repeating this process daily.

Sleep Apnea: What Can You Do?

If you suspect your child has sleep apnea bring it up and discuss it with your family doctor.  If your doctor doesn't listen to your concerns about this problem, find another physician.

A sleep study may be prescribed by your doctor to determine the extent and severity of the sleep apnea. An ENT specialist should be consulted to evaluate and remove the offending soft tissue (adenoids and tonsils). Evaluation by a dentist trained in sleep apnea will be necessary to resolve any developmental problems while there still is a chance in the "growing" child.   

Sonny Eslampour, DDS is a dentist with a sub-specialty in treatment of TMJ disorders and Sleep Apnea.
TMJ & Sleep Apnea Center
555 S Rancho Santa Fe Road, #100
San Marcos, CA 92078