It takes more than a bedtime story to help some kids get a good night’s sleep. It’s estimated three out of every 100 children suffer from sleep apnea. It causes them to briefly stop breathing. The parents may rest easy, knowing they have several options for treatment.
“Sometimes taking the tonsils and adenoids is used to treat sleep apnea. Also there is some medication management with nasal steroids or leukotriene inhibitors, a medication that helps calm the upper airway inflammation,” says Dr. Jose Colon, a sleep specialist with Lee Memorial Health System.
A child’s facial structure may contribute to their apnea. In cases where there is a narrow jaw, a non-surgical treatment may help them breath easier.
“There are dental procedures that can be done when you have your permanent teeth, called rapid palatal expansion, that does increase the diameter of your airway. We’re not pulling any teeth, what we’re doing is expanding our palate. And there’s always the c-pap mask many adults wear to sleep. It stands for continuous positive air pressure. The constant airflow keeps the child’s airway open. Question is, whether they’ll be comfortable enough to use it,” says Dr. Colon.
“The compliance of the oral devices have been found to be higher than the compliance of CPAP, but again, that’s in the right patient,” says Dr. Colon.
It comes down to finding the right solution to help your child rest easy.