Sleep apnea in children is a serious condition that my cause many symptoms and side effects including:
If your child experiences any of these symptoms, you’ll want to talk to a sleep specialist to have your child assessed for sleep apnea, which will only get worse if left untreated. At NYC SleepWell, we offer an overnight sleep test to help determine if your child does have sleep apnea – and if so, the severity of their condition. An in-lab sleep test may be recommended in some cases – and we also offer a convenient home sleep test. Our sleep specialist will explain the advantages of both. Once your child has a diagnosis, our experienced team of sleep specialists – including skilled pediatric dentists — will develop an appropriate treatment plan. Fortunately, there are several non-invasive, in-office procedures to treat sleep apnea in children – including palate expansion.
A palate expander is a device that inserts into the roof of your child’s mouth to help widen the roof of the mouth and expand the airway, helping your child breathe. A narrow or deep jaw makes it difficult for a child to breathe through the nose, resulting in continuous mouth breathing, which is known to be detrimental to a child’s health. Also known as a maxillary expander, the device not only widens the upper jaw or palate for easier breathing, but also helps to produce a correct bite and enable your child’s upper teeth to erupt in their correct positions. Depending on your child’s palate width, it may require correction when your child is young – as early as five to seven years old – in order to accommodate the proper development of his or her teeth while opening up nasal passages.
Once evaluated and diagnosed, your child will be fitted with a palate expander, a plastic and metal device that is attached to the upper molars either by bonding or the use of cemented bands. You’ll receive a special key that enables you to make minor adjustments as needed. The device can cause some minor discomfort during expansion (the initial two to three weeks), but it can be effectively treated with a pediatric over-the-counter analgesic that is well tolerated by children. After expansion, the device stays in place for up to six months in order to solidify the expansion and prevent regression. The only at-home maintenance necessary consists of your child brushing the middle and sides of the expander when he or she brushes – and making sure to avoid sticky foods such as candy. Sometimes, a removable palatal expander may be used over a fixed device.
Led by Dr. Ruben Cohen, a Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, our skilled team of sleep specialists, general and pediatric dentists, ENT surgeons, orthodontists, and anaesthesiologists have extensive experience in palate expansions — in addition to other in office procedures and surgical treatments for a wide array of conditions including sleep apnea. For your added peace-of-mind, our facility is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF), the Gold Standard in Accreditation. Our goal at NYC SleepWell, plain and simple, is to help you sleep well – and be healthy!