Airway Health & Sleep-Disordered Breathing in Prosper, TX

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What Are Airway Health & Sleep-Disordered Breathing?

Sleep is an essential part of health. You probably know this and at least try to get 7 – 9 hours of Zs each night. But what if I told you that not enough attention is given to sleep and the way infants and toddlers sleep in the first three years of their lives? By this age, the brain has attained 80% of its adult volume. Proper sleep and proper breathing during sleep are crucial to brain and immune system development.

American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that “children be screened for mouth-breathing, snoring, or gasping during sleep from the first year of life.” Additionally, per a 2017 position statement by the American Dental Association, dentists are encouraged to screen patients for sleep-breathing disorders. At WindHaven Pediatric Dentistry, we believe pediatricians and pediatric dentists too often neglect airway health and disordered breathing during sleep due to time constraints.

At our Prosper, TX dental office, we offer the MiniSproutz program, where we take the time to check all of the following at each visit for infants up to three years old:

  • Breathing
  • Oral posture
  • Body posture
  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • Dental health

If you’re interested in learning more about the MiniSproutz program and how airway health and sleep quality impact your little one’s development and future, please get in touch with the team at WindHaven Pediatric Dentistry today.

Who Is At Risk for Sleep-Disordered Breathing?

Children may not get the best sleep every night for various reasons. However, sleep-disordered breathing is not just a few nights of less-than-average sleep. It can inhibit your child’s mental and physical development and lead to long-term consequences. Risk factors for sleep-disordered breathing include:

  • Obesity
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
  • Abnormalities involving the face, mouth, or airway
  • Neuromuscular disorders, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy
  • A family history of sleep-disordered breathing or obstructive sleep apnea
  • Premature birth

How Is Sleep-Disordered Breathing Treated?

MiniSproutz is a preventative program within our dental office that offers monitoring and guidance for your baby’s orofacial growth and development from birth to age 3. As part of this program, we teach parents how to care for their child’s dental and facial wellness during this time. One thing all infant parents should know is that a sleeping child should be quiet, still, and breathing through their nose with their mouth closed. If a child has poor breathing patterns during sleep during infancy, a number of symptoms may result in the coming years and beyond, including increased risk of dental decay, upper airway issues, poor facial development, sensory processing disorders, and poor posture.

If the team at WindHaven Pediatric Dentistry in Prosper, TX uncovers any issues with your child’s airway health or breathing during sleep, we offer a number of treatment options:

  • Palate expander: A device used to widen the palate, or roof of the mouth, which is also the floor of the nose. This increases the amount of air that can flow through the nostrils.
  • Lingual frenectomy: If a palate expander isn’t enough, a procedure to remove a narrow band of tissue connecting the underside of the tongue with the bottom of the mouth may be necessary to improve breathing and treat a tongue-tied child.
  • Myofunctional appliances: A class of orthodontic devices that help children achieve healthier breathing patterns and improve orofacial development.
  • Referral to an ear, nose, and throat specialist or another qualified medical provider

Airway Health & Sleep-Disordered Breathing FAQ

What are the symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing in children?
Symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing may include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Thrashing around and gasping in bed
  • Unexplained bedwetting
  • Misbehavior and bad mood
  • Poor school performance
  • Teeth grinding
  • Night terrors
  • Unusual sleep positions
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Inability to focus

It should be noted that this is not a complete list of symptoms. Please consult with the experts at WindHaven Pediatric Dentistry if you suspect your child has a sign of sleep-disordered breathing.

Why should I have a pediatric dentist and not a specialist like an ENT focus on my child’s breathing?
Pediatric dentists are trained to have expert knowledge of child development. Because many conditions regarding the mouth may affect breathing, overall growth, and health later in life, pediatric dentists know what to look for regarding airway health and sleep-disordered breathing. We can refer you and your child to an ENT or sleep specialist if necessary.

How much sleep should newborns and infants get?
Typically, newborns should get about 14 –17 hours a day until about three months of age, and infants from 4 months to 1 year old should get 12 – 16 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. Toddlers from 12 – 24 months are typically recommended to get 11 – 14 hours of sleep per day. If it’s time for your infant’s first dental appointment, and you notice that they aren’t getting as much sleep as they should, please let WindHaven Pediatric Dentistry know.

Make Sure Your Child Sleeps Easy and Healthily

Parents of newborns, infants, and toddlers have a lot on their minds and want to ensure the best health possible for their child now and in the years to come. In many cases, parents and even their pediatricians may not be thinking about airway health and breathing during sleep. With the MiniSproutz program at WindHaven Pediatric Dentistry, parents can make sure their child is getting the proper attention and care for these important aspects of infant development. If you’d like to learn more about MiniSproutz or sleep-disordered breathing, get in touch with our Prosper, TX pediatric dental office today.

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