Pediatric Dental Sleep Medicine in Worcester

Many children suffer from snoring and other sleep disorders. Dental sleep medicine can help them get a great night's sleep and improve facial growth and development!

Dental sleep medicine is a field of dentistry that focuses on a patient's breathing and sleep habits. Based on questionnaires and diagnostic tests, we can determine if a child needs dental treatment to get a better night's sleep.

Common Sleep Issues Amongst Children

Common sleep disorders amongst children include:

  • - Snoring
  • - Bruxism (nocturnal clenching and grinding of the teeth)
  • - Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS)
  • - Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

It's estimated that between 5%-10% of children have OSA. Unfortunately, a large number of them are misdiagnosed. It is often assumed, based on their symptoms, that the child has ADD/ADHD. Up to 25% of children diagnosed with and treated for ADD/ADHD may not actually have those conditions. Instead, they may have a sleep disorder.

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young girl with medical bib asleep in dentist's chair

How a Lack of Sleep Impacts Your Child and Their Development

Infants need a significant amount of sleep — about 15 hours per night. As a child gets older, their sleep needs lessen, but they still need between eight and 12 hours per night depending on their age (younger children need more sleep).

Sleep allows the body to repair, grow and re-energize itself. Without proper sleep, the body and brain won't function optimally. If a child experiences sleep deprivation, they can experience mood swings, brain fog, and lowered immune response (and therefore, are more likely to catch every cold and flu that comes around). Additionally, if a child goes a long time without adequate sleep, their growth can be stunted as growth hormones are released during sleep.

Another reason to be concerned about sleep disturbances is that they can lead to long-term, serious problems — both with their dental and general health. Such problems include:

  • - Increased risk of obesity
  • - High blood pressure and heart disease
  • - Increase risk of cognitive problems

Dental problems related to OSA and bruxism include:

  • - Dental malocclusion
  • - Crowding
  • - Swallowing disorders
  • - Speech problems
  • - Difficulty with oral hygiene (due to positioning of teeth)

Symptoms of a Sleep Disorder

Not sure if your child is struggling with a sleep disorder? Here are some signs to watch out for. If your child has any of these, they may benefit from pediatric dental sleep services.

  • - Not sleeping
  • - Waking up tired
  • - Feeling chronically exhausted
  • - Mood swings
  • - Snoring or noisy breathing
  • - Pauses in their breathing at night
  • - Restless sleep
  • - Coughing or choking
  • - Mouth breathing
  • - Night terrors
  • - Bed wetting
  • - Poor academic performance
  • - Learning issues
  • - Difficulty concentrating
  • - Hyperactivity
  • - Difficulty gaining weight
  • - Behavior problems
  • - Complaints of headaches or jaw/facial pain
  • - Sore teeth
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Should Your Child See a Pediatric Dentist in Worcester, MA

When your child is dealing with sleep issues, you should take them first to their pediatrician. Their doctor can run a variety of diagnostic tests — including a sleep study — that can provide valuable information to both the doctor and your child's pediatric dentist in Worcester, MA.

We know we can't provide remedies for every sleep disorder. However, we can work hand-in-hand with your child's doctor to come up with a practical solution. If your child is experiencing chronic bruxism or snoring we can help with that as well. At Children's Dental Specialties, we are on the same team with your child's doctor and everyone wants the best for your little one.

We Can Help Your Child Get a Better Night's Sleep.

Contact us and learn more about our pediatric dental sleep services!