Pediatric Airway Disorders

The diagnosis and treatment of pediatric Airway Disorders like Sleep Apnea and TMD/Facial Pain impacts not only the child, but the family. Dr. Silva works with the patient’s pediatric team to deliver a clear and concise treatment plan for an optimal outcome.

Pediatric sleep apena | pediatric airway disorders | Collegeville Sleep Well

Facial Growth Development

Many significant growth and developmental milestones occur during our first 18 months of life. In fact, 60% of the child’s facial development is completed by age 6, and 90% by age 12.

As children grow, proper breathing is essential to their health, development, and educational success. Early detection and correction of airway problems can be integral to optimizing this fundamental and critical physiology. Airway evaluation is an important part of the process.

Using precision diagnostic technologies and methodologies, our physicians are able to detect and correct any growth and development issues that may be present before they lead to any more serious comorbidities.

What can influence facial development?

• Functioning of muscles
• Proper nutrition
• Ability to breathe normally

Some of the most common facial development abnormalities are seen in children are caused by a compromised airway or the inability to breathe properly through the nose. Children who cannot breathe well through their nose tend to breathe more through their mouths. This sets up a chain of events that may severely impact not only the health of a child but also the way a child’s facial feature develops and ultimately the way a child looks as an adult.

How does breathing affect development?

It’s easy to forget how strong the tongue can really be (Can exert from 40-80 kPa). The tongue often positions itself in the lower jaw to allow a child to breathe more readily through the mouth. This pressure changes the growth of the lower jaw so that it grows more vertically, making the child’s face grow longer. Since nasal breathing is severely compromised by this, the upper jaw and midface (nasal bones, cheekbones, and bones supporting the tissue of the face) fail to develop at a normal rate because the natural growth stimulant of airflow through the nose is absent. This results in a deficiency of growth from the lower jaw directly impacts the facial balance, beauty, and function of a child and later as an adult.
A poorly formed maxilla (upper jaw) also affects the eye sockets that support and shape the eyeball, it supports the nasal airways, leading to a deviated septum, asymmetrical noses, snoring and sleep apnea. An underdeveloped jaw can lead to forward posture, which helps to open the airways- however, throws off the alignment of the spine and body. This poor posture then leads to headaches, teeth grinding, neck/shoulder tension, and fatigue.

Top ten signs of a mouth breather:

• Snoring
• Bedwetting
• Allergies/Sinus Problems
• Frequent Colds
• Swollen Tonsils and Adenoids

• “Allergic Shiners” dark circles under the eyes
• Chapped Lips
• Forward Head Posture
• Teeth Grinding
• Lack of Concentration

Pediatric Sleep Apnea

Sleep disorders in children and adolescents are common; even infants may have sleep disorders. Studies have shown that poor sleep quality and/or quantity in children are associated with a host of problems, including academic, behavioral, developmental and social difficulties, weight abnormalities, and other health problems. Not only do pediatric sleep problems affect child health, but they impact family dynamics and parental or sibling sleep. Children may suffer from problems with falling or staying asleep; from physiological problems such as obstructive sleep apnea, to abnormal or disruptive sleep behaviors such as sleepwalking and other parasomnias such as restless legs syndrome, and even daytime symptoms such as excessive sleepiness, and others. While adults may suffer from the same problems, the etiology, presentation, and associated findings in children may be very different than those seen in adults.

Benefits of early examination, diagnosis and treatment:

1. Removes harmful factors influencing growth
2. Excellent ages for growth guidance and restoring normal growth
3. Assist in improving the psychological well-being of the child
4. Saves some patients from future jaw surgery
5. Can assist in building better bites and smiles – prevented crowded/crooked teeth

Blocked airways and poor tongue posture can trigger excess adrenaline. Many studies have shown compromised airways and improper breathing as a contributing factor to ADHD in children. Many serious sleep issues can be attributed to poorly formed airways.

Our team prides itself on precision diagnosis and treatment of airway issues. We check for the proper development of the jaw and harmony of the face. We also screen for
breathing and oral habits which with the natural growth instead of against it, we can prevent problems from the beginning, or becoming worse, and give children a lifetime of healthy smiles and deep breathing!