Pediatric Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea?

Dr. Maddux and the Virginia Beach team at Maddux Orthodontics recognizes how vital good quality sleep is to children, teens and adults. Adequate sleep is necessary for growing, developing, learning and focusing.

Maintaining good overall health depends on getting good quality sleep at night. Frequently, we see children with the classic symptoms of poor rest due to open mouth posture during sleep. The proper position of the mouth during sleep is closed with the lips together. This ensures that the tongue does not fall into the soft tissues of the palate and breathing is focused through the nasal passages. If children have a habit of thumb-sucking or pacifier use as infants and into early childhood, chances are the jaw may open during sleep.

Symptoms of Sleep Disordered Breathing

Pediatric sleep disordered breathing (SDB) is a common occurrence and refers to breathing difficulties during sleep. Symptoms of pediatric sleep disordered breathing often go undiagnosed and studies show that a majority of children suffer from SDB. The most common symptoms of pediatric sleep disordered breathing include:

  • Snoring
  • Open mouth posture during the day
  • Mouth breathing
  • Chronic allergies
  • Restless sleep
  • Dark circles under eyes
  • Swollen adenoids and tonsils
  • Bed wetting
  • Behavioral issues

How Does Sleep Disordered Breathing Affect My Child?

Sleep disordered breathing can range from mild to severe and can present in many different ways, especially in children. Some of the causes of pediatric sleep disordered breathing can be enlarged tonsils and adenoids, carrying extra weight as well as having abnormalities in the lower jaw or tongue. As a parent, you may notice behavioral issues in your child during the day and not realize that it comes from lack of adequate rest at night. Daytime symptoms of SDB may cause children:

  • Low performance in school
  • Irritability
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Behavioral problems
  • Inability to focus in the learning environment
  • Learning difficulties
  • Slowed growth
  • Hyperactivity
  • ADHD

How Can Maddux Orthodontics Help?

As orthodontists, our job is to straighten teeth, as well as to help them function properly for a lifetime. Dr. Maddux is an expert in facial growth, jaw alignment and airway development, which are the foundations of healthy growth and development beginning in early childhood. If you suspect your child may not be getting adequate sleep at night, schedule a complimentary consultation today.

Early evaluation and diagnosis of pediatric sleep apnea is the first step in helping your child improve his overall health as well as his dental health. Dr. Maddux will evaluate your child’s upper and lower arch to determine if there is adequate space for permanent teeth as well as ample room for the volume of air your child needs during sleep. Dr. Maddux uses palatal expanders to open the palate, create space and guide the growth and development of the jaw and oral structures.


The first step toward achieving a beautiful, healthy smile is to schedule an appointment.