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Do I have sleep apnea? Does my child have sleep apnea?

Dr. Mark Coreil, DDS

Dr. Mark Coreil, DDS

Dr. Mark Coreil, DDS is a Board Certified orthodontist. He is also an Associate Professor of Clinical Orthodontics at the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry.

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We hear it a lot… “Do I have sleep apnea?” Sleep apnea is a serious disease that affects both children and adults. You may not be aware of your condition and may be suffering from the side effects without knowing solutions are available

Who can have sleep apnea and what are the symptoms?

One in five adults in the United States has sleep apnea which is sometimes called sleep-disordered breathing. When it comes to children research has shown that up to one in ten children have sleep apnea type episodes during sleep associated with upper airway obstruction. In adults, the most common signs of sleep apnea are waking up tired, daytime sleepiness, morning headache, dry or sore throat, challenges with memory, or feeling irritable much of the day. If you are falling asleep watching TV you need to see an orthodontist. Both children and adults who snore or have labored breathing during sleep are at risk for sleep apnea. Signs of sleep apnea in children include poor grades in school, bedwetting, night sweats, unusual sleeping positions, and irritability. ADHD has been associated with this condition so many children with the diagnosis of ADHD may in fact be suffering from sleep-disordered breathing and should see an orthodontist for screening.

Who should I see if I think me or my child has sleep apnea?

Your orthodontist is a great place to start if you think you or your child have sleep apnea. At your first appointment, you will fill out a sleep apnea questionnaire that will rate your symptoms and determine the need for referral to a sleep specialist. Your orthodontist will also perform imaging of the head allowing for a closer look at the airway, facial structure, and sinuses. During the clinical exam, your orthodontist will look at the size of the tongue, tonsils, and jaw relationship all of which could affect the ability to perform normal breathing. Your orthodontist will work closely with sleep medicine physicians, ENT doctors, and other professionals to ensure you get the proper diagnosis and treatment.

What type of treatment may be needed?

For adults the most common treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP but given the low compliance rate of about 60%, many of these patients benefit from dental appliances to improve the airway during sleep. Compliance with dental appliances is much higher than with CPAP. Dental sleep appliances are only done when recommended by the sleep specialist. For children, your orthodontist may recommend expansion of the jaws and orthodontics along with support from the ENT doctor for improved airflow.

Coreil Orthodontics in Lafayette Can Help With Your Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious disease that affects many adults and children. Those affected are often not aware of their condition and could benefit from the many treatment methods available today. Like many areas of healthcare, the treatment of sleep apnea is best performed by a team of experts who stay up to date with the latest developments.

As a team member of the Craniofacial Team at Children’s Hospital of New Orleans, I was able to develop a system for identifying patients with breathing disorders.  Early recognition and treatment are very important for the health of these patients.  We have also found that many of our TMJ patients are actually suffering from breathing disorders.  At Coreil Orthodontics we are focused on identifying and managing patients with sleep apnea. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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