Parents may notice that their child sometimes snores while sleeping. Research shows that snoring is a common phenomenon, with more than 40 percent of Americans snoring at some point during their lives. It is more common in male children, and may become worse as they grow up. Medical treatment should be sought in cases where the child’s snoring is a result of a sleeping disorder.
What is snoring?
A person will begin snoring when tissues within their airways rub one another. This restricts the flow of air, which causes the familiar (and unpleasant) snoring sound. The volume of a child’s snoring may vary based on the restriction of air within their windpipe. Snoring is commonly triggered by either allergies or colds since they create nasal congestion and inflammation within the throat.
Occasionally, the structure of the child’s mouth will result in snoring. This is because tissues or tonsils which are enlarged may cause a restriction in airflow. If a child is obese, this can also lead to snoring as a result of the increased buildup of fat within their nick, which will restrict their airways when they lie down in a supine position. When snoring appears in children, it is frequently caused by sleep apnea (enlarged tonsils).
What are the symptoms of snoring?
There are numerous symptoms which are associated with snoring. Aside from the unpleasant sound they make while sleeping, children may also appear sleepy during the day and can display a variety of other problems. Some of these are:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Accidents resulting from drowsiness
- Behavioral problems
- Displays hyperactivity
How is the diagnosis established?
Dr. Samadi will perform a physical exam of the child in order to assess whether the snoring is a result of abnormalities which exist in their mouth. Typically, this is all that is necessary in order to determine the proper mode of treatment. Mild cases of snoring are not serious, while heavy snoring may be a cause for concern.
Dr. Samadi may perform additional tests if your child’s snoring is severe. Some of these tests include CT scans, X-Rays or MRIs. He will look for things like a deviated septum, and the child may need to wear sensors which record their oxygen levels, respiration and heart rate.
How is snoring treated?
Snoring treatment will depend on the underlying cause. ENT for Children does not recommend over the counter treatments since they don’t address the root of the problem. Instead, the child must be treated with things such as dental mouthpieces, which will position their soft palate and tongue in a manner that keeps their airways open, or a palatal implants, which are embedded into the palate in order to make it stiff enough to decrease snoring.
In extreme cases, surgery can be used to trim excess tissue which is present in the airways, and laser surgery will be used to reduce the soft palate while getting rid of the uvula. Surgery is a permanent solution, while mouthpieces require ongoing maintenance. Contact us for a consultation on treatments we can use to help your child overcome their snoring.