Preventing Pediatric Sleep Apnea and the Often Disturbing Consequences

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pediatric_sleep_apneaCHILDHOOD SLEEP APNEA: Preventable and treatable but time is of the essence. Early treatment is always preferred.




I lecture on the” Common developmental pathways of TMJ, Sleep Apnea, ADD, ADHD, Migraines, Mouth breathing, myofascial pain and poor posture”



Signs your child may have sleep disordered breathing? Daytime symptoms and nighttime symptoms of childhood. Looking for these symptoms and treating as early as possible can drastically improve your child’s life.

Sleep disordered breathing is very serious disorder that can affects every aspect the of physical development of your child. This includes actual brain and nervous system development and the neural pathways that will persist throughout your child life.

All snoring or signs of Sleep Apnea should be taken very seriously. In children even one apneic event is too many. If you have reason to suspect your child has sleep apnea please talk to your pediatrician or dentist.

Dentist who treat sleep apnea, are involved in Orthodontics, and especially orthopedic growth appliance, myofunctional therapy and TMJ disorders are often the specialists of children’s breathing.


Mouth breathing. Difficulty with nasal breathing, or through their nose may be due to deviated septums, tethered tongues or tongue tie, enlarged tubinates,: allergies.

When children constantly breath through their mouth it can also change their facial development.


Changes in brain development from disturbed sleep, low oxygen saturation and other sleep issues is now suspected o be the underlying cause of up to 95% of ADD, ADHD, oppositional behavior and other behavioral disorders.


I initially became involved in treatment of sleep apnea in the 1980’s due to my son Billy. After repeated visits to ENTs and pediatricians with concerns about night-time breathing I took matters into my own hands after we were told the Billy had ADD, ADHD, and needed to put off starting kindergarten and put him on Ritalin for life.

Billy was always a poor sleep with multiple awakenings and very hyperactive during the day, like a tightly wound spring.

I took hi to Rush Medical School and had a sleep study, he had an apnea index of 60. We took out tonsils and adenois and widened his mouth orthodonticlly and released tongue and lower lip ties. He went ro 50% growth curve to 90% growth curve, became an “A” student and graduated college Double Major, Double Minor magna Cum Laude.

DRUG OF CHOICE OXYGEN not RITALIN! couples with good sleep.

Behavior problems. Por sleep leaves these children with a difficult time just making it through the day and often is seen as behavioral issues.
Failure to thrive. Failure to thrive means having difficulty learning and doing well school, making friends, and being overall successful.

Stinted growth. As I explained with my son there was a dramatic change in growth. Growth hormone, sex hormones and cortisol are controlled during sleep as is insulin resistance. Children with childhood sleep apnea growth get stinted, Adults also are affected by these changes leading to increased belly fat and decreased muscle mass in sleep apneic adults. If you have sleep disorder that constantly disrupts your sleep your not going to grow and repair your body as fast.

Frequent memory problems especially short term memory problems. There is a connection to Alzheimers and Dementia but not a cause and effect. Poor sleep will bring these conditions on more severely and more quickly in patients genetically inclined to experience them.

  • Wakes up frequently with dry mouth and/or headaches or feeling disoriented. Grogginess in the AM or frequent pushes to snooze alarms
  • Frequent allergies or upper respiratory infections, nasal mucous build up, phlegm build up, sinus pressure and vacuum sinusitis
  • Large tonsils and adenoids
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Feels tired or being hyperactive (opposite sides of same coin) all of the time. Difficulty in paying attention is school or concentrating
  • Excessive irritability, frustration and feelings of worthlessness.
  • Constant puffy eyelids with dark circles undr the eyes. The dark circles are blood that is not oxygenated enough. Fluid often backs up into sinuses increasing risk of infection. Poor lymphatic drainage.



  1. Wakes up short of breath or choking.
  2. Restless sleeping (Frequent movement around in his or her sleep, especially after loud snores).COVERS OR PILLOW VERY DISTURBED OR ON THE FLOOR. Sleeping on entire bed, often in strange or awkward poses, frequent awakenings, early morning awakenings when younger but impossible to wake as adolescent.

Childhood sleep disorder breathing or sleep apnea is estimated to affect about 4% of population but newer information suggests that might just be the tip of the iceberg.

It is estimated that over 90% of children have orthopedically deficient maxillas, a trend that started about 400 years ago due to modern living. Even our orthodontic normative values are probably pathologic.

The future of our children and the human species are at risk. These are primarily Epigenetic changes to our environment in earl childhood and not genetically determined changes. They are poor phenotypic outcomes not genetic programing.

Chair, Alliance of TMD Organizations
Diplomat, American Academy of Pain Management
Diplomat, American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine
Regent & Fellow, International College of CranioMandibular Orthopedics
Board Eligible, American Academy of CranioFacial Pain
Dental Section Editor, Sleep & Health Journal
Member, American Equilibration Society
Member, Academy of Applied Myofunctional Sciences

Sleep Disorder Diagnosis

Dr. Shapira Sleep Disorder, Sleep Disorder Diagnosis 0 Comments

Do You Have a Sleep Disorder?

sleep-disorder-diagnosisIf you’re someone who has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, sleeping too little or even sleeping too much, then it’s possible that you may have a sleeping disorder.

It’s important that you get the right amount of sleep so that you’re able to function properly the next day. If you don’t, it can easily need to various sleep loss symptoms, including fatigue, a lack of concentration and even relationship problems. Seeking treatment will allow you to start getting a good night’s rest that your body needs.

Because there are many various types of sleep disorders it’s important to see a sleep specialist who can offer a proper sleep disorder diagnosis. Two of the more common sleep disorders are sleep apnea and snoring. People who are experiencing these particular sleep disorders usually don’t receive the right amount of sleep their bodies need because they’re constantly being woken up.

In order for you to receive a proper diagnosis for why you’re not sleeping well, you’ll need to see a physician who can not only diagnose your sleeping disorder that can also help determine what the best method of treatment is going to be.

Who Can Diagnose Sleep Disorders?

Although dentists are not able to diagnose sleep problems, they can work closely with doctors, or even a sleep specialist in order to diagnose a sleeping problem. Because sleep apnea and snoring are very common when it comes to sleeping disorders and are directly related to the mouth area seeing a dentist for treatment is highly recommended.

There’s a close relationship between dentistry and sleep problems many dentists have the ability to use special appliances and even specialize surgical techniques that can help treat and correct a variety of sleep-related breathing disorders.

Let’s Study Your Sleep

In order to properly diagnose a sleep disorder there are a number of sleep home studies and labs that are specifically set up for this reason. Sleep images, which measure the patient’s quality of sleep, are also use and can be very helpful when it comes to receiving a proper diagnosis.

If a breathing-related sleep problem is indeed found, seeing a dentist for possible dental treatment options is a great place to start. One of the more popular treatments include using an orthotic, which is a device that helps to keep your airway open when sleeping. Another option includes full mouth reconstruction, which involves transforming your teeth and/or mouth in order to correct your bite and correct any breathing problems.

Learn More

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can receive a sleep disorder diagnosis by working together with both a physician and a dentist, be sure to contact us today so we can help you find the treatment that’s going to work best for you.