If you notice your child has difficulty breathing at night, it could be a sign of that their airway has not developing properly and is causing them to suffer from a sleep breathing disorder. Here at Daghlian Pediatric Dentistry & Sokolowski Orthodontics, we offer airway and breathing treatments using the ALF appliance so you child can breathe easily and get the rest they need.
Airway & Facial Development
Many significant growth and developmental milestones occur during the first 18 months of your child’s lift. By age 6, about 60% of a child’s facial development is completed, and by age 12 about 90% of their facial development is complete. Many common facial development abnormalities and complications seen in children are the result of a compromised airway or an inability to breathe properly through the nose.
Being able to breathe properly through the nose is a key part of your child’s health, development and educational success. When children cannot breathe through their nose and are instead forced to breathe through their mouth it can affect their health as well as their facial development. Ultimately, this will effect their health and appearance as an adult, making early detection and correction of airway problems incredibly important for your child’s physical and psychological wellbeing.
Compromised airways and improper breathing are a contributing factor to many problems, including:
- Academic, behavioral, developmental and social difficulties
- Asymmetrical appearance of facial structures
- Bruxism (chronic teeth grinding and clenching)
- Deficient growth in the upper jaw and midface
- Disruptive sleep behaviors (sleepwalking, problems falling asleep, problems staying asleep, restless legs syndrome, etc.)
- Forward head posture, leading to problems with the alignment of the spine and body
- Headaches and fatigue
- Neck and shoulder tension
- Sleep breathing disorders, including snoring and sleep apnea
- Weight problems
Pediatric Sleep Apnea
Pediatric sleep apnea is a condition which occurs when your child’s airways are partially or completely blocked while they sleep, preventing them from breathing normally and getting the rest they need. This is often the result of a narrowing or blockage of the upper airway during sleep. Sleep apnea in children is often caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids, childhood obesity, genetics and nasal allergies. Common signs of sleep apnea include:
- Pauses in breathing
- Restless sleep
- Snorting, coughing or choking sounds while asleep
- Mouth breathing
- Nighttime sweating
- Bed wetting
- Sleep terrors
Sleep apnea is known to cause behavioral problems in children, and may also contribute to poor performance in school, difficulty learning, difficulty paying attention and hyperactivity. We encourage you to have your child evaluated for sleep apnea if you notice these or other behavioral problems.
The ALF Appliance
Our orthodontist may recommend an alternative lightwire functional (ALF) appliance to help improve your child’s breathing and encourage proper airway development. The ALF appliance is an ultrathin, flexible wire that is customized to fit the roof of your child’s mouth behind their upper teeth. It is a completely noninvasive and comfortable treatment, working to apply gentle pressure across the palate. This pressure offers support for your child’s developing oral and airway structures, allowing them to grow and develop properly as well as maintain open airways while they sleep.
ALF appliances not only encourage proper breathing, but also assist in the growth and development of your jaws and overall facial structure to promote better long-term oral health and function. Treatment with ALF helps your child’s jaws develop, allowing them to accommodate all your child’s teeth and minimizing their risk of additional problems such as TMJ disorders.
Schedule An Appointment
We invite you to call us today at 949-706-7006 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Paul Sokolowski and learn how the ALF appliance in Newport Beach, California, can benefit your child.