Treating OSA in Children with an ALF Appliance
October 21, 2020
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that causes frequent pauses in breathing from an obstruction in the airway. Although it primarily affects adults, children can have the sleep disorder as well. Often, it’s the result of large tonsils or adenoids, which leads to an obstruction in the upper airway and mouth breathing. An ALF appliance is a solution to reduce interruptions in breathing. Your dentist can help your child get the rest they need using a noninvasive treatment for sleep apnea in Southlake.
What Causes OSA in Children?
Adults with sleep apnea experience pauses in breathing from the soft tissues in the back of the mouth or throat collapsing to block the airway. The condition differs a bit in children because it’s most often caused by enlarged adenoids and tonsils causing the blockage. For some children, they can grow too large or become swollen from infection, leading to a brief blockage of airflow while your child sleeps.
What are the Symptoms OSA in Children?
Symptoms of the disorder can manifest in many ways for young patients. Besides loud, chronic snoring, your child might also experience:
- Noticeable pauses in breathing
- Gasping for air while sleeping
- Mouth breathing
- Nasal voice
- Restlessness during sleep
- Daytime irritability
- Behavior problems
- Sleep walking or night terrors
- Learning problems
- Morning headaches
Untreated OSA can lead to other health issues as well. It’s essential your child gets the treatment they need right away.
How is OSA Treated in Children?
After undergoing a sleep study for diagnosis, your child’s physician will create a customized treatment plan based on their specific needs, such as surgery to remove their tonsils or adenoids. As an alternative to surgery, they may also recommend visiting a holistic dentist in Southlake for an alternative lightwire functional (ALF) appliance. This involves using an orthodontic device to widen the palate and nasal passages, known as an ALF appliance.
The appliance uses an ultrathin, flexible wire that’s custom bent to fit the roof of the child’s mouth behind the upper teeth. It applies gentle pressure across the palate to provide the floor of the nose with support to prevent pauses in breathing. Overall, it also creates an improved relationship between the posterior tongue and soft palate to offer support for the entire airway.
Is an ALF Appliance Right for My Child?
An ALF appliance is a noninvasive solution for young patients living with obstructive sleep apnea. If you’re looking for an alternative to surgery, it’s time to contact your dentist to see if your child can benefit from an ALF appliance.
About Dr. Preetha Thomas
Dr. Preetha Thomas is a trusted holistic dentist in the community who specializes in maxillofacial oral surgery. Her training included time at the Boston Children’s Hospital to work with young patients. Dr. Thomas has advanced training in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics to provide customized solutions for children with OSA. If your child has sleep apnea, contact our office today to see if an ALF appliance can help them breathe easier.
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