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Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea in Children, with Dr. Ousama El-Hillal, E & S Orthodontics, Phoenix, Tolleson, Chandler, Peoria, AZ

If your child is restless, has been diagnosed with ADHD, is bedwetting or grinding their teeth, these are all signs there may be an airway obstruction issue, says Dr. Ousama El-Hillal, of E & S Orthodontics in Phoenix, Arizona.  The first step, he says, would be to have their tonsils and adenoids evaluated by an ENT to see if they're enlarged.

Grinding is not a normal response in children and when we have that, the cause may be that the child is moving their lower jaw in such a way to improve their airway and in doing that, it helps them breathe better, Dr. El-Hillal says.

Depending on the age of the child, it will determine their course of treatment.  Dr. El-Hillal will usually not pursue orthodontic treatment until the child is at least 6 years of age and prior to that, will send them to an ENT for an evaluation first.  After the age of 6, Dr. El-Hillal might use early treatment with the Damon system to widen the upper teeth and jaw.

Children with sleep problems don't go into their proper cycles of sleep and end up being more fatigued, which creates hyperactivity.  Parents may not recognize this, which can contribute to the mis-diagnosis of ADHD, notes Dr. El-Hillal.

A lot of times when a child diagnosed with ADHD comes into his office, Dr. El-Hillal will look at their teeth, which can tell us things that a physician can miss.  Often times, physicians are not trained to look in the mouth and the mouth can really tell what's going on, Dr. El-Hillal says.  By looking into the mouth, it allows dentists to explore things a child's physician may not have picked up on, he says.

Dr. Ousama El-Hillal is an orthodontist with E & S Orthodontics, with locations in Tolleson, Peoria and Chandler, Arizona.   He is a leading sleep expert with Sleep Better TV, providing online, on-demand sleep breathing disorder video content.

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