Pediatric Airway Development

Sleep Apnea

While often viewed as a condition adults get, apnea can affect children as well. In fact, OSA is fairly common in children, and could even be the source of childhood ADD/ADHD.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sometimes when a child is sleeping, their airway can be blocked momentarily. This condition is called obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA.

While the child is awake, their muscles are engaged and keep the airway open, but when they are relaxed and sleeping, the muscles are loose and can sometimes collapse, obstructing the airway.

Often your child’s doctor will incorrectly diagnose these behavioral issues and prescribe medication your child does not need. Not only are these medications pointless in treating the actual problem, sleep apnea, but they could have dangerous side effects.

Contributions to your child’s OSA could be enlarged tonsils, or the structure of their nose, mouth or throat. Dr. VanDyke can provide evaluation and testing to properly identify the cause of pediatric sleep apnea.

Signs and Symptoms

Keep a look out for the following and get in touch with TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Montana if you notice that any of these symptoms become a regular part of your child’s behavior.

  • Snoring.
  • Mouth breathing.
  • Tooth grinding / jaw clenching.
  • Night sweats / bed wetting.
  • Uneven breathing during sleep.
  • Frequent nightmares / night terrors.
  • Odd sleeping positions.
  • Frequent infections, especially in the ear, sinuses or tonsils.
  • Headaches.
  • Poor Concentration.
  • Hyperactivity.
  • Mood Changes such as:
    • Irritability.
    • Anxiety.
    • Depression.
  • Orthodontic Issues:
    • The top of the mouth should be a wide U shape.
    • When the mouth is a narrower V shape, apnea can occur.

If left untreated, sleep apnea in children can have serious complications such as:

  • Weight gain and obesity.
  • Depression.
  • Delayed development.
  • Memory loss.
  • Dysfunction of the nervous system.
  • Behavioral issues including:
    • Withdrawal from social interaction.
    • Hyperactivity.
    • Aggressive behavior.
    • Learning difficulties.
    • Decreased performance in school.
  • Impaired intelligence.

Pediatric Airway Development

If your child has ADHD or ADD, does not sleep well, or is frequently sick, there may be a deeper, more serious problem under the surface. Obstructive sleep apnea in kids can have adverse effects like behavioral disorders.

Finding the real source of your child’s behavioral problems is in their best interest because the medication prescribed by their doctor may not be helping the root issue, and could have harmful side-effects.

Schedule a free phone consultation today with Dr. VanDyke. She, like the rest of our team, wants to do everything she can to help your child develop correctly so they can have a better quality of life.

Does My Child Have Sleep Apnea?

Not sure if your child has sleep apnea? Take the quiz below to see if a consultation is what your child needs.

    While sleeping, does your child...

    1. Snore more than half the time?

    2. Snore Loudly

    3. Grind teeth and/or Clench jaw?

    4. Have Heavy or Loud Breathing?

    5. Have Trouble Breathing or Struggle to Breathe?

    6. Have you ever seen your child Stop Breathing during the night?

    Does your child...

    1. Tend to Breathe through their mouth during the day?

    2. Have a Dry Mouth upon waking in the Morning?

    3. Occasionally Wet the Bed?

    4. Wake feeling Unrefreshed or Tired in the Morning?

    5. Have a Problem with Sleeping during the Day?

    6. Have Teachers or Caregivers commented that your Child falls asleep during the Day?

    7. Is your Child hard to Wake in the Morning?

    8. Does your Child have headaches in the Morning or throughout the Day?

    9. Did your Child Stop Growing at a Normal Rate at Any time since Birth?

    10. Is your Child considered Overweight for their Age/Height?

    Does your child often...

    1. Not Seem to Listen when spoken to Directly?

    2. Have Difficulty Organizing Tasks and/or Activities?

    3. Easily Distracted?

    4. Fidget with Hands/Feet or Squirm when Seated?

    5. Seem to be "On the Go" or described as a "Busy" Child?

    6. Interrupt or Intrude on Others? (Butting into Conversations, Games/Activities)

    If you Answered ‘Yes’ to 3 or more of the Above Questions, your Child may be at risk for Sleep Apnea.
    If you Answered ‘Yes’ to 6 or more of the Above Questions, your Child may be at HIGH risk of Sleep Apnea.
    We recommend you call our office at 406-952-0154. Please fill out the form below to send a copy of this quiz to us for further help.


      The presence of snoring could mean your child has sleep apnea. While snoring is often related to age and weight, this sleep-related breathing condition affects people of all ages. In children, 70% of snorers also have sleep apnea.

      Because of this association, the American Association of Pediatrics’ ‘Practice Parameter’ suggests that all children should undergo a snoring test. If snoring is present, the child should be screened for the possible presence of pediatric sleep apnea.

      How Can TMJ and Sleep Therapy Centre of Montana Help With My Child’s Night Terrors and Moodiness?

      If your child is having night terrors or mood swings, it is possible they are showing symptoms for pediatric sleep apnea. Sleep apnea in children can be caused by incorrect development in the child’s mouth or airway that can cause blockages when muscles are relaxed during sleep.

      This lack of sufficient oxygen can create night terrors, mood swings, and even behavioral disorders like ADHD. This is a common misdiagnosis, which can lead to children being prescribed improper medication.

      Pediatric Treatment From a Sleep Apnea and TMJ Professional

      Sleep apnea in kids can be scary. You want to find a dentist nearby that you can trust to provide the best care for your child. At TMJ and Sleep Therapy Centre of Montana, we are led by Dr. Shuyler VanDyke, who has dedicated her life to studying how to treat sleep apnea and it’s symptoms.

      Sleep apnea in kids can be scary. You want to find a dentist nearby that you can trust to provide the best care for your child. At TMJ and Sleep Therapy Centre of Montana, we are led by Dr. Shuyler VanDyke, who has dedicated her life to studying how to treat sleep apnea and it’s symptoms.

      Help Your Child Get Ahead With Better, Healthier Sleep

      Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your child succeed. Our treatment methods can give your child the energy and focus they need to do well in school, conquer night terrors, and more.


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