Airway and Sleep Dental Topics
Sleep disordered breathing and sleep apnea in the growing child:
Sleep disordered breathing and sleep apnea have become popular buzzwords in today's world of health care. When a child cannot sleep well at night he is often irritable or overly sensitive to seemingly harmless stimuli during the day. Alternatively, he may seem unfocused, hyperactive or both. At Growing Faces, we make this issue paramount in our exam because sleep quality and breathing ability is a major contributing factor in the growth of a well proportioned face with a pleasing profile and straight teeth.
The diagnosis of ADHD and ADD have become extremely commonplace in our classrooms and society. Clearly, sensory and learning issues and behavioral diagnoses may have multiple causes and therapeutic approaches BUT: wouldn't it be better to first make sure that your child's sleep is of the proper quality and quantity? Children who do not sleep well generally cannot breathe well. It is our role to guide and refer to the proper medical specialists and therapies.
Sometimes children need evaluation of their adenoids and tonsils by an ENT and sometimes the ENT will order a sleep test. Sometimes the child will require myofunctional therapy or breathing therapy or both therapies. He or she may need the additional support of a dental appliance in order to encourage the proper downward and forward growth of her face in order to encourage proper growth of the airway.
Some signs and symptoms that you can look for are: dry lips, open mouth posture during the day and night, purple coloration under the lower eyelid, bed wetting (even if only occasional), tremendous movement during sleep, night terrors, snoring and grinding during sleep and difficulty becoming potty trained or frequent "accidents".
Breast feeding your baby has an enormous impact on his or developing face, jaws, nasal passages and airway. At Growing Faces we would like to extend our support to those Mothers who are having trouble with lactation by offering an exam of their baby's oral cavity. Occasionally a piece of tissue underneath the tongue or at the center of the upper lip (called a frenum or "tongue tie") prevents the baby from latching on correctly to the nipple.
The result can range from the baby not being satisfied, caries on the baby teeth due to pooling of milk, insufficient milk production due to poor latch, incorrect breathing pattern and soreness or infection for Mom. Correct tongue position in the anterior portion of the palate while suckling and breathing are key not only in assuring physical nourishment but also in ensuring that the newborn will develop a good breathing pattern and well proportioned jaws.
Breathing retraining with the Buteyko method:
Proper breathing and posture are essentials to good facial growth and development from the first day of life. They may also help reduce asthma and allergies as well as improve sleep quality and sports performance. The Buteyko method of reduced breathing teaches:
Learning how to unblock the nose using breath hold exercises
Switching from mouth breathing to nasal breathing
Relaxation of the diaphragm and creating a mild air shortage
Making small and easy lifestyle changes to assist with better long-term breathing methods
Measuring breathing volume and tracking progress using a special breath hold test The Buteyko method is taught to children over the course of six one hour sessions and several in office follow ups by a Buteyko instructor.
All exercises require daily repetition at home for proper breathing retraining.
Buteyko breathing is taught by a qualified breathing instructor at Central Jersey Myo Kids.
Signs that a child’s oral muscle function or breathing pattern may not be allowing her face and airway to develop optimally:
Baby teeth that are crowded in the front or that have no spaces in between them
A purple hue under the lower eyelids
An open mouth posture or poor overall posture
Nighttime snoring, grinding or bed wetting, extremely restless sleep or night terrors
An inability to perform certain tongue movements
Mistaken use of facial muscles for swallowing, otherwise known as a "tongue thrust"
A large discrepancy between the upper and lower jaws
A "deep bite "
A flat profile
Unusual or severe gag reflex
A narrow high vaulted palate
Pacifier, thumb, lip, digit or object sucking