Our quality of life suffers significantly when sleep is fragmented. Fatigue, mood swings, impaired concentration and physical deterioration occur at any age when the “thief in the night” robs the body’s ability to restore and recharge. A destructive cycle begins that progress into a degenerative journey. Dr. Nikolaus Netzer responds: “Name any non-cancerous systemic disease and it can be connected to Sleep Apnea”.
Anatomical variations of the human airway coupled with obesity are two of the main factors that contribute to poor sleep health. Each of us bear responsibility for the latter and mechanical devices can control the former. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to premature death due to the rigors of stress without recovery. Remember sleep deprivation is a torture technique in warfare.
Snoring is an important sign, but not necessarily a predictor, but large tonsils, tongue, adenoids, long soft palate, narrow crowded upper arch with high vault with mandibular retrusion are highly correlated with airway restriction. Asthmatic and allergic conditions also contribute to sleep disorder breathing.
Recent studies at the University of British Columbia are showing promising improvement in asthmatics with oral appliances that expand the upper arch (increasing nasal volume) and posture the lower jaw forward at night which brings the tongue forward opening the airway. It is a growing opinion that many children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder could well have sleep issues that are the root of the problem.
Oral appliances have been a great help to many adults who are non-compliant with their CPAP breathing machine or those having a mild form of sleep apnea who do not need the machine, so it stands to reason that children would enjoy the same benefit.
My practice has been involved with adult sleep disorder breathing since 2003 and we have nearly one hundred patients using oral appliances that have been prescribed by sleep disorder physicians as an aid to improving sleep and snoring. I am a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine where I am continually updated and networked.
Children with sleep disorder breathing need good information and proper treatment.