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Managing a Child With Sleep Apnea

child with sleep apnea

There are a ton of factors to consider when caring for and managing a child with sleep apnea. Not only is sleep apnea dangerous, but it can also cause unforeseen issues that parents lose track of in just trying to make sure their child is okay. From developmental side effects to behavioral changes, having a child that is struggling with sleep apnea commands attention and early intervention with a sleep apnea specialist to keep the problem from getting worse.

Behavioral Effects of Sleep Apnea

One of the things that makes sleep apnea even more detrimental to children is its effect on their behavior. Going to school, getting good grades, and staying out of trouble set kids up for success later in life, so anything that impedes that progress should be attended to as soon as possible. Parents, caregivers, teachers, and dentists can identify the potential for sleep apnea by recognizing these early warning signs:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Behavioral Inhibition
  • Impulsivity
  • Withdrawal
  • Executive Dysfunction
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Rule Breaking
  • Peer Problems
  • Conduct Problems


If your child is struggling with any of the behaviors listed above, it may be time to consider bringing them to a sleep apnea specialist for a consultation.

Developmental Effects of Sleep Apnea

Undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea can manifest itself into physical attributes or deficiencies for children that are still developing. Some examples of this include:

  • Growth delays
  • Cognitive delays
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Bedwetting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Flatter facial features
  • Less prominent cheekbones
  • Longer faces
  • Smaller lower jaws
  • Droopier eyes
  • Lower facial muscle tone
  • Narrower palates

What Can Parents Do?

Children's jaws are not yet fully developed until around age 16, meaning their face shapes are still going through some degree of restructuring. Because of this transitionary period, children's growth trajectory is more malleable than it is for other people, so there is a lot of time to course-correct and set them up on the right path. Parents can:

  • Teach better breathing habits (through the nose, not the mouth)
  • Encourage healthier sleeping habits (such as sleep posture)
  • Schedule an appointment with a sleep apnea specialist as soon as possible


The key to beating sleep apnea is getting on top of treatment as soon as possible. The sooner parents address concerns about their children's behavior and sleep patterns, the sooner than can be treated.

Be Aware and Work Together

Working with your child's teachers and doctors can often go a long way in identifying potential health concerns. The warning signs listed here don't always signify a sleep disorder, but they should be investigated to identify what is causing them. If your child suffers from any of the items listed above, it's necessary that you contact your pediatrician or pediatric dentist so that sleep apnea can be ruled out.

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Lynnwood, WA

Diagnosis is one of the biggest obstacles in treating sleep apnea, especially for children. In many cases, an in-lab overnight sleep study can cost well over $500. Such a price point is often out of budget for parents, so to combat this problem, Dr. Buck offers patients an exam and screening study for a fraction of the usual cost. If you believe your child may be experiencing signs of sleep apnea, contact Dr. Buck at (425) 361-0968 or visit our contact page to schedule an appointment. 

Facial Asymmetry and TMD Diagnosis
The One Way to Diagnose Sleep Apnea

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DR. BUCK'S PHILOSOPHY

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Epigenetic Orthodontics

Epigenetic Orthodontics can open and protect the airway enhancing breathing both during sleep and awake activities.

Dr. Buck practices a philosophy that integrates airway into all diagnosis and treatments. Dentistry has traditionally not considered the airway when planning dental treatments. Fortunately, today there is a rapidly growing movement that now recognizes how dentistry can have an impact on the airway which affects breathing during sleep. If dental treatments, including TMJ, orthopedic and orthodontics are well planned the result can be that the airway is protected or even enhanced. There is a clear link between underdeveloped and retruded jaws together with narrow dental arches that puts a patient at risk for sleep breathing disorders.

Please visit this site for more information; Airway Health

Airway Improvement

WOW! A 54% decrease in forward head posture; 164% increase in the antero-posterior size of the airway; 176% increase in the lateral size of the airway all from epigenetically centered jaw development orthopedics. This is the future of orthodontics!​
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