Sleep apnea is a very serious condition which is too often undiagnosed and untreated. Here at Beitchman Orthodontics, we also recognize that this condition often begins as obstructive sleep breathing in young children. Numerous studies have now shown that children with impaired airways do not often get a good night’s rest. Thus they have shorter attention spans, trouble concentrating in class, are not attentive, and seem to be tired all the time. Many of these children are diagnosed with ADHD. This is why Dr. Beitchman takes time with children between the ages of six and ten to evaluate their airways.
An important thing to keep in mind is that a child should never snore! Children with narrow dental arches frequently have crowed front teeth, which is easily seen. What is not easily seen is the fact that they have high palates and not enough space for the tongue to rest in its natural position. All of these things combined can lead to obstructive nasal airways. Furthermore, during exams at our San Antonio and Boerne orthodontic offices, Dr. Beitchman evaluates patients’ tonsils and adenoids, both radiographically and clinically.
We believe that orthodontists are uniquely qualified to treat these conditions through the expansion of dental arches using orthodontic appliances and, when appropriate, referral to a pediatric ENT doctor with whom we work closely. It is our goal to diagnose obstructive sleep breathing in patients as young as six years of age and take steps to correct this condition before it progresses into true sleep apnea.