Sleep Apnea and Breathing at Le Mars Dental Center
Sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea is caused by an airway blockage during sleep. While awake, muscles in the airway keep the throat and airway passage open. However, when a patient is affected by sleep apnea, the throat collapses during sleep and momentarily blocks the flow of air.
Although sleep apnea is typically associated with adults, there is no age limit, and it can affect otherwise healthy children. Some research indicates it may be a root cause of childhood behavior and attention problems. Enlarged tonsils and small structural features of the jaw, nose, mouth and throat may contribute to the problem.
While sleep apnea is a medical condition that is diagnosed by a medical provider, it can be treated by a dentist with special understanding and training on this disorder. Dr. Rhea has completed training in dental sleep medicine, temporomandibular pain, as well as child development. She is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and American Academy of Craniofacial Pain.