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How Orthodontists Diagnose a Sleep Breathing Disorder in Children, With Dr. Ousama El-Hillal, E & S Orthodontics, Phoenix, Tolleson, Chandler, Peoria, Arizona

Snoring in a child is abnormal behavior, according to Dr. El-Hillal, an orthodontist in Phoenix, Arizona, and usually an indication of something else occurring in a child.  A child may not be diagnosed with sleep apnea like an adult but a child can get mis-diagnosed with ADD (attention deficit disorder) if a child doesn't get proper sleep, he says.  If there are subtle disruptions in their sleep patterns, then those kids will be more fatigued and restless.

At his practice, E & S Orthodontics, in the Phoenix, Arizona area, Dr. El-Hillal can identify those kids that may have airway obstruction issues and it could relate to many things.  A small upper jaw or a lower jaw that's set back are some things that as an orthodontist, he can gear in on what type of treatment would best benefit a child.

When Dr. El-Hillal feels there's a disturbance in the child's sleep and there's an airway issue, the first thing he does is evaluate the child's tonsils and adenoids to see if they're enlarged.  If so, the child is referred to an ENT for further evaluation.  The second thing is that as an orthodontist, Dr. El-Hillal wants to create an anatomical change and a more permanent change.  In order to improve the airway, he can expand or widen the top jaw and then make sure the lower haw is brought forward in a good position.

In terms of the benefits of orthodontic treatment, Dr. El-Hillal says that if the treatment is timed in such a way, we can actually improve the facial outcome of a patient.  Diagnosing is key in determining if the patient has a facial abnormality that would lend them to having sleep disturbances or airway obstructions, he says and that if we can figure that out, we can create a more permanent change in that child.

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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