School is back in session and some parents may be receiving reports about behavioral issues with their children. If that’s the case, they may want to schedule an appointment with their child’s dentist. That’s right... the dentist!
Dentists are uniquely positioned to notice signs of previously undetected sleep disorders in children.
If left untreated, childhood sleep disorders can lead to behavioral disorders or somatic growth delay, and eventually cardiovascular and nervous system diseases, and a reduced quality of life. Clearly, early detection and treatment of sleep disorders is critical to ensuring proper development and quality of life.
The key thing about children’s sleep is the quality of the sleep. Even if they sleep a good number of hours, if their sleep is disrupted or they aren’t getting deep enough sleep, it can lead to issues. Your dentist can potentially see signs of disordered sleep manifested in oral development. If there are any concerns, the dentist will ask some follow-up questions to help determine if a sleep disorder may be at fault. If so, a treatment plan or referral will be discussed.
While there are many potential causes for behavioral disorders, this one is an easy check and your child should already be going to the dentist ever 6 months for cleanings. If you suspect an issue, bring it up during or prior to your regularly scheduled appointment.