New Developments in How Dentist Treat Sleep and Breathing Issues in Children

A healthy airway has so much to do with the way children develop. When a young person experiences airway disruptions, the result can appear to be unrelated health conditions

A healthy airway has so much to do with the way children develop. When a young person experiences airway disruptions, the result can appear to be unrelated health conditions. For example, airway obstruction can lead to poor sleep quality, difficulty maintaining focus, and struggling in school.


Diagnosing and correcting airway conditions can be initiated by a family dentistry professional. By having an airway assessment performed during a child’s general dental checkups, dentists and families alike can become better informed about the quality and nature of a given patient’s breathing pattern.


Studies have shown that children with airway problems experience symptoms that impact various aspects of their lives and interfere with healthy development.


Sleep apnea, though not common in children can result in:


• Chronic fatigue despite going to bed at a reasonable time


• Poor school performance


• Behavioral issues


• Difficulty paying attention


• Snoring


• Bedwetting


• Irritability


• Headaches


Because breathing obstruction does not allow children to get a decent night’s rest, it has the potential to further impact the child’s immune system, which may lead to frequent colds and cases of flu.


Dental professionals are able to correct airway conditions with a holistic, safe approach. Airway evaluations and correction does not often require any type of surgery in order to reach a successful conclusion.


Dentists simply evaluate the oral cavity, teeth, tongue, jaw, orofacial muscles, and throat. From there, he or she can determine the issue and plan the best course of treatment. Many times, returning the jaws to proper alignment and helping the child train himself/herself to breathe through the nose can help substantially.


Correcting the jaw’s alignment can be completed via therapy, retainers to wear at night, proper sleep positioning, or orthodontic correction. There is a selection of treatment options available depending on the underlying cause of the breathing disorder.


If you’re concerned about your child’s airway health, we welcome you to reach out to Golden Heart Dental and book an appointment with our dedicated dental staff. Our office serves the Fairbanks, AK area as well as Ester and North Pole.


Dr. Shawn Miller DDS is experienced in correcting breathing issues in children and can perform safe, non-invasive evaluations in order to determine the best course of action.

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