Sleep, Airway & Orthodontics, Part 1

Sleep and airway related orthodontics in children has become an area of great study over the past several years. We now know that children who snore or sleep with their mouths open on a regular basis tend to have an upper airway constriction. We also know that bed-wetting, ADD, ADHD, disruptive behavior along with sensory processing disorder are all associated with sleep disruptions and sleep-disordered breathing.

Four percent of children have some sort of disrupted sleep – that’s why at Westwalk Orthodontic Group, we screen all of our patients under the age of 18 for symptoms associated with sleep disordered breathing.

Unfortunately, just knowing that there is some sort of sleep disordered breathing is only the first step to addressing the problem. The cause of sleep-disordered breathing in children can be multi-faceted. Several possible causes include: enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids, a narrow nasal airway with increased nasal resistance, a low tongue posture, a recessive lower jaw, or even obesity. When necessary, we work with your pediatrician, ENT and speech pathologist to enact the best treatment plan for your child.

Next week, we’ll discuss how orthodontic treatment can affect positive change for the child with sleep-disordered breathing.

Drs. Steve Cagliostro and Gary Romeo