Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which a child’s breathing stops and starts during sleep. Child OSA is most commonly found in children between the ages of 2 and 6, but can occur at any age.
There are a variety of treatments for OSA. Some of the most common devices to help are a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine (CPAP), mouth appliances, and specially designed pillows. Dentofacial orthopedics is another option for early treatment and even prevention of OSA. These orthopedics can open the airway 10mm or more by developing a facial profile to an optimum situation, which is a process to increase the airway space. Treatment can be started as young as 2 years old, and can help your child to reach the maximum sleep potential by reducing problems with breathing, swallowing, and sleeping.
Other oral treatments include a Mandibular Repositioning device and a Tongue Retaining device. These devices open your airway by bringing your lower jaw forward during sleep. They are acrylic and fit inside your mouth, much like an athletic mouth guard. Others may fit around your head and chin to adjust the position of your lower jaw as well.
Dental devices are only effective for mild to moderate sleep apnea. There are also a number of possible troubling side effects from using the dental the devices to include soreness, saliva build-up, nausea, and damage or permanent change in position of the jaw, teeth, and mouth.
It is very important to get fitted by a dentist specializing in sleep apnea. Also, see your dentist on a regular basis for any dental problems that may occur, and check with your sleep specialist to see if you are a proper candidate for OSA.