Can Children Have Sleep Apnea?

My husband and I were watching a movie the other night and heard something seriously weird. We went upstairs to discover my first grader snoring like a drunken pirate. My husband looked at me and said, “The snoring is strong with this one.” He thought it was funny but I’m concerned. I went in to watch her after the movie and it seemed to me like she stopped breathing a couple of times. Can children have sleep apnea?

Amanda H.

Dear Amanda,

Child sleeping mouth open
Snoring is often a sign of sleep apnea.

There are many things which can cause snoring in children. The obvious one is a cold or upper respiratory infection. But, if your child is otherwise healthy, then snoring is a big sign she may have sleep apnea. Even if the snoring is strong with her, it doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll have to look and sound like Darth Vader with a CPAP machine. There are less bulky and scary solutions.

Speak with a dentist about what you’ve noticed in her sleeping. He’ll likely order a sleep study. The breathing issue you saw is common with sleep apnea as well. In fact, it’s possible that she is doing that many times per night. You’ll notice, even when she has a full night’s sleep she’s a little tired throughout the day.

Is Sleep Apnea Hard to Treat?

Many times you can get a doctor’s prescription for your child’s sleep study, which will help offset the cost. A good dentist will start with the easiest treatment options first. Often, a child’s sleep apnea can be solved by a simple orthotic which fits like a custom designed mouth-guard. It doesn’t always have to be worn for long. Plus, as her jaw develops you may find this solves itself.

It wouldn’t hurt to have her looked at by an orthodontist as well to see if her bite development is an issue. The earlier treatment is planned for those type of things, the smoother and less expensive the procedure will cost you, especially if you can limit the phases of treatment.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.

Can I Get Porcelain Veneers If I Have an Overbite?

Something my dentist said doesn’t seem right. I want to get porcelain veneers. He said because my overbite almost completely covers my bottom teeth I can’t and need crowns instead. Is that right? I would think crowns would be harder than veneers in that situation. I know I’m not a dentist, but I still wanted to double check. Something else to consider is my teeth are very stained from some medicine I took when I was a kid, so I’ll want to somehow make my bottom teeth match even though my top teeth cover most of them.

Karyn G.

Dear Karyn,

Porcelain veneers being placed on a tooth

Wow! I wish I had a buzzer of some sort…and possibly a time machine. At your appointment when your dentist made that seriously lame excuse, I’d have buzzed it and shouted, “Points for trying!” then dragged you out of his office fast.

Your dentist is obviously not a cosmetic dentist. He’s more comfortable doing porcelain crowns then porcelain veneers, so he makes up an excuse that you astutely picked up didn’t make any sense. Crowns make so much less sense because it affects the back of your teeth. Plus, with crowns, you’d have to grind healthy tooth structure down to nubs.

Getting the Best Porcelain Veneers Results

For you to get a good result, you’ll need to go to a different dentist. You want a highly skilled cosmetic dentist, especially considering the staining you mentioned on your teeth. When you said staining from childhood medicine, I’m thinking you may have tetracycline stains. This also means you need an expert cosmetic dentist even more. Tetracycline stains are especially difficult. You have to get the veneers opaque enough to cover the stains, but still get a natural, translucent look.

So, now that you know you need an expert, how do you find one?

My recommendation is you look on the mynewsmile.com website. They only recommend the best cosmetic dentists in each area. They have to demonstrate both technical skill and artistry. They cannot simply pay a fee to get on the site. You’ll be safe with anyone on their site.

As for whitening, yes, you’ll whiten the bottom teeth. With tetracycline stains it can be difficult, but Kor Whitening has had more success than most. A good cosmetic dentist will know that though, so you should be fine.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steven Bader.