Addressing Sleep Disordered Breathing with Palatal Expanders

March 20, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drthomas @ 8:00 am
Young girl sleeping with mouth open

High-quality sleep is one of the pillars of good health. Unfortunately, many people, including children, suffer from sleep disordered breathing (SDB), which interferes with the quality of their rest and can leave them feeling exhausted day after day. If your child has been struggling to feel well-rested lately, Dr. Thomas and the Enclave Dental team may be able to help with the remarkable ALF appliance, which is a step above traditional palatal expanders.

Understanding Sleep Disordered Breathing

SDB is an umbrella term that can refer to a range of conditions that interfere with proper breathing during sleep. The most common form of SDB is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition that occurs when tissues in the airway block the flow of oxygen, resulting in repeated pauses in breathing throughout the night. People with OSA often tend to snore very loudly.

SDB can affect patients of all ages. In children, it can cause moodiness, poor performance in school, and behavioral problems.

Often, SDB is caused by anatomical abnormalities in the upper airway, including the mouth. For example, a narrow palate and misaligned teeth may contribute to the problem.

The ALF Appliance for SDB

In discussions about SDB in children, you might hear palatal expanders recommended as a way to widen the upper airway and promote proper breathing during sleep. Granted, palatal expanders can be useful. They widen the palate by applying pressure over time, thereby leading to improved nighttime breathing. However, they tend to use heavy force. They also cross the roof of the mouth, which can be uncomfortable and interfere with the child’s speech.

Due to the potential drawbacks of traditional palatal expanders, Dr. Thomas favors the use of the ALF appliance. ALF stands for Advanced Lightwire Functionals. Similar to a palatal expander, it can help to address the anatomical problems that lead to SDB. However, it is much gentler and does not cross the roof of the mouth. It is often used in conjunction with myofunctional therapy to help children rest their tongue in the correct position, swallow properly, and develop other good habits that contribute to optimum oral function and unhindered breathing.

Is the ALF Appliance Right for Your Child?

The ALF appliance can help many patients find freedom from SDB, but it is not suitable for everyone. Dr. Thomas can examine your child’s mouth to determine if it could be used in their unique situation. Hopefully, they will soon get to enjoy sweeter sleep!

Meet Dr. Thomas

Dr. Preetha Thomas is a holistic dentist who has completed all levels of training at the ALF Institute. She is proud to help patients improve their health and the quality of their sleep in any way she is able. If your child has been snoring a lot lately or has exhibited other symptoms of SDB, she would be pleased to consult with you. Contact Enclave Dental in Southlake at 817-912-1218.

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