Fresh thinking outside of the box on childhood orthodontics

Childhood orthodonticsRachel Pointer thinks outside the box when it comes to childhood orthodontics.

According to the results of a new study, 7% of child orthodontic patients were found to be a high risk for sleep-disordered breathing (Rohra et al, 2018).

Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) covers a range of conditions, from snoring to apnoea. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential, because childhood SDB is associated with many health problems. Including ‘behaviour problems, deficits of general intelligence, learning and memory deficits, evidence of brain neuronal injury, increased cardiovascular risk, and poor quality of life’ (Halbower, McGinley and Smith, 2008).

Using a questionnaire to ascertain their level of risk of SDB, the study assessed an orthodontic population of 303 children, aged between nine and 17. 7.3% of the sample screening at high risk was higher than expected. It was concluded that SDB is likely to be widely under-reported. The author hopes that his study will help more orthodontists to recognise the signs and symptoms of SDB. Referrals to a specialist can then be made.

Body of work

This latest study builds on previous work that looked at the link between SDB and craniofacial morphology. (Children aged between six and eight) (Ikävalko et al, 2012). It found that children with a cross bite and children with a convex facial profile were at greater risk of having SDB than those with no cross bite, or with a normal facial profile.

Pinpointing SDB in the young and correcting the problem early will have important, positive repercussions for their general health as they grow older. Regular poor sleep affects mental wellbeing at any age and can have dramatic consequences on physical health,. It can put an individual at risk of a range of serious conditions, such as heart disease and...

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