Not too many years ago, I thought sleep apnea was a problem only faced by adults with certain risk factors, but now I know better. Sleep apnea and other sleep breathing disorders affect a large percentage of kids - and the implications are huge. Many kids suffering from treatable sleep apnea are misdiagnosed (and then mistreated) as having attention deficit disorder and other common problems. In fact, if your child is being treated for ADD or ADHD you may be treating the wrong issue. But why would your orthodontist care about that?
Orthodontists are ideally positioned to determine if a child has airway issues related to the anatomy of their jaw and teeth and, along with an ENT and, in some cases, the Oral Surgeon, we can identify and then treat the cause of the disorder rather than subjecting the patient to a lifetime of treatment for the symptoms. It's very exciting to me that we can have this kind of impact through orthodontics. So much so that sleep apnea screening is part of our normal, complimentary consultation.