Orthodontic Expansion Prevention for Sleep Apnea in Children
Early orthodontic expansion in children is one way to not only treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), but also to prevent it. Because genetic factors, oral habits like thumb sucking, or breathing issues can create a habitual low tongue posture, adequate growth and development of the jaws may be inhibited. Guiding the growth of the jaws via orthodontics may be necessary for creating optimal airway space as children grow. Correcting the low tongue posture habit is also critical and where myofunctional therapy comes into play. Assessment of tonsils and adenoids is also crucial when children have been diagnosed with OSA because severe airway obstruction is so detrimental to growth and development. All of these modalities are essential considerations for lasting results and long term health for children with sleep disordered breathing. The following article explains one method of orthodontic expansion used to guide growth of the jaws.