In Canada, it is very hard to treat a child's tonsils and adenoids due to their socialized medical system, which is all based on the family doctor being the gatekeeper of the system. Dr. David Rawson, dentist with the TMJ Sleep Therapy Centre in London, Ontario, says that the first problem is with dentists in trying to refer dental patients to the medical side, as they need to work through the family doctor.
For parents, Dr. Rawson recommends they step back and watch what is doing on regarding what their children are eating, what kind of environment they're in and to look at their breathing, to "start taking command of the healthcare system" themselves. Unfortunately, in his area of Ontario, if one is lucky enough to have a doctor and can wait long enough to see a specialist, quite often the answer is going to be medication and that doesn't work for most people, Dr. Rawson says. He adds that there's a huge push in his area for a more holistic approach.
The difference between adults and children who don't get enough quality sleep is that children become more anxious and more hyperactive, which is the opposite of how it affects adults, says Dr. Rawson. These children, he says, often get mislabeled as having ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, because they can't sit still and pay attention, when in fact, they're just starved of oxygen from a poor night's sleep.
Dr. Rawson says that parents can learn a lot about their child's sleep by watching and listening to them while they sleep. He says to look and listen for choking, gasping and snoring and to see if they look relaxed or are struggling while sleeping. If that's the case for the couple of times a parent saw it, it probably happens almost every night.