Does your child seem drowsy during the day? Does he or she snore or wake up breathless in the middle of the night? They could have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – a chronic condition where breathing stops periodically during sleep because soft tissue is relaxing and obstructing the airway. These periodic stops can happen as many as 20-30 times in an hour and cause a lack of oxygen to the brain, waking up your child so that they restart proper breathing. All that waking up can leave one pretty sleepy the next day – even if they don’t remember waking up!
Untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can affect school work and overall alertness as well as raise your child’s risk of serious health problems down the road. These include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Chronic acid reflux
- And even depression
Luckily, sleep apnea is treatable. It just needs to be diagnosed. That’s where you come in: if your child has any of the following symptoms, bring them to see us for a free consultation and sleep apnea test at Mitchell, Bartlett & Bell Orthodontics.
Here’s what to look for:
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping (tossing and turning or night sweats)
- Loud snoring at night
- Waking up at night short of breath
- Long pauses in breathing
- Chronic mouth breathing during sleep
- Snorting or choking sounds during the night (indicating a restart of breathing)
- Extreme drowsiness throughout the day
- Changes in mood, misbehavior, or decline in school performance
- Hyperactivity or inattention (in some cases children who are diagnosed with ADHD are actually not hyperactive but rather are showing the clinical symptoms of OSA.
Orthodontists are leading specialists in spotting Sleep Apnea early because of our familiarity and expertise in working with the soft tissue in children’s mouths. As both orthodontists and parents, Dr. Kelly Mitchell, Dr. Brian Bartlett, and Dr. Carrie Bell make a point of asking all parents if they’ve noticed any of these symptoms when they first consult with new patients.
If your child is exhibiting any of these symptoms, bring them in for a free consultation. We can help with a treatment plan and make sure your kids are sleeping soundly!
While sleep apnea can have very serious side effects, it is treatable. The most important thing you can do is pay attention and have your child evaluated.
Please reach out to us today if your child is exhibiting any of the above signs. At Mitchell, Bartlett & Bell Orthodontics we offer free consultations and have 2 convenient locations in Greensboro and Kernersville.