What is Sleep-Disordered Breathing?

While researching sleep apnea in kids, you may have encountered the term sleep-disordered breathing. This term encompasses all types of sleep-breathing disorders that adults and children can have. Sleep-disordered breathing ranges from light snoring and spans all the way to severe obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep-disordered breathing conditions are on a continuum and can tend to worsen with age.

  • Snoring: Snoring might seem harmless, and even cute, in a child. But that’s far from the truth. Snoring is the sound of air struggling to pass through your child’s airway.
  • Upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS): This is a partial blockage of oxygen when your child is sleeping.
  • Obstructive hypopnea: This is even more of an obstruction.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea: Finally, obstructive sleep apnea is when your child’s airway is blocked enough that their blood-oxygen levels are low.

Regardless of your child’s sleep-disordered breathing stage, it’s important to talk to your Kansas City sleep dentist about treatment.

Daytime Signs of Sleep-Disordered Breathing in Kids

Adults present many sleep apnea symptoms, as do kids. However, the symptoms presented by kids look different. Here are the signs of sleep apnea in kids during the day.

  • Daytime sleepiness (does your child fall asleep watching TV or trying to concentrate on play?)
  • Low energy
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Poor memory
  • Learning difficulties (many parents will diagnose this as a learning disorder. But the reality is that their brains aren’t getting the oxygen and sleep they need to function.)
  • Behavioral problems, including aggression
  • Hyperactivity (children might be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD)
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Slow growth
  • Obesity
  • Difficult speech (this is an issue of an underdeveloped jaw that is causing sleep-disordered breathing now and may cause TMJ disorder in the future.)
  • Crowded teeth (crowded teeth suggest a too-narrow jaw.)
  • Deep bites and open bites
  • Dark circles under the eyes

Nighttime Signs of Sleep-Disordered Breathing in Kids

  • Snoring, even light snoring
  • Choking or gasping for breath during sleep
  • Mouth breathing (sleeping with the mouth open is an indication that they aren’t getting enough air. Over time this becomes a habit and worsens your child’s jaw structure, making sleep-disordered breathing worse.)
  • Restless sleep
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Wetting the bed
  • Frequently getting up to use the bathroom (This and wetting the bed is a sign that your child is awake during the night, even if they don’t notice it. During sleep, our bodies cycle excess liquid. When awake, this liquid comes out as urine.)
  • Nighttime sweating
  • Sleep terrors (not only terrifying for a child, but symptomatic of sleep-disordered breathing. Adults can get nightmares with sleep apnea, too, but it’s presented as a night terror in children.)

Treating Your Child for Sleep-Disordered Breathing

Early intervention for sleep-disordered breathing is key. Dr. Prabu Raman started treating children with sleep-disordered breathing when he became a grandfather. He made it his mission to ensure that his granddaughter and other children wouldn’t have to suffer from sleep-disordered breathing or future TMJ disorder problems.

By guiding the growth of your child’s jaw, he can ensure that there is enough room in their airway for oxygen to pass through. Since children are so resilient and their bones are still changing, it’s much easier to treat sleep-disordered breathing and head off future TMJ disorder problems when they’re young rather than waiting until they become adults.

Dr. Raman’s goal with early intervention is two-fold: to treat sleep-disordered breathing so kids can live a happy and healthy life and to ensure that when they become adults, they’ll never have to seek TMJ treatment. With the help of Dr. Raman, the jaw will have grown healthy and their airway large enough that they won’t develop sleep apnea.

Help Your Child Get a Good Night’s Sleep (and avoid TMJ) in Kansas City

Do you notice the symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing in your child? If so, call your sleep dentist Dr. Prabu Raman in Kansas City. He can guide the growth of your child’s jaw to eliminate sleep-disordered breathing problems and the risk of TMJ disorder later in their life. Call (816) 436-4422 or make an appointment online.