Sleep Wellness Centre FAQs

Learn everything you need to know about Sleep Disordered Breathing and the Healthy Start System at Pacific Pediatric Sleep Wellness Centre in Winnipeg by reading our FAQs.

Read the answers to our most frequently asked questions.

What is Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB)?

The term sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) refers generally to breathing difficulties during sleep. SDB can range from loud, frequent snoring to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition where the airway is blocked repeatedly during sleep.

When a child’s breathing is disrupted during sleep, the body reacts as though the child is choking. This causes the heart rate to increase, blood pressure to rise, the brain to awaken, resulting in a disruption of sleep. Oxygen levels in the blood may also drop.

How can I tell if my child has SDB?

The symptoms associated with SDB can vary from one child to the next. Common symptoms include:

  • Snoring
  • Hyperactivity
  • Bed Wetting
  • Chronic Allergies
  • Difficulty in School
  • Mouth Breathing
  • Restless Sleep
  • Stunted Growth
  • Nightmares
  • Crowded/Crooked Teeth
  • Swollen Adenoids/Tonsils
  • Aggressive Behaviour

What does it mean if my child snores?

Loud snoring that is present on most nights is the most obvious symptom of SDB.

The snoring can be interrupted by complete blockage of breathing, with gasping and snorting noises associated with waking up from sleep. 

What causes SDB?

A common physical cause of airway narrowing contributing to SDB is enlarged tonsils and adenoids.

Overweight children are at increased risk for SDB because fat deposits around the neck and throat can also narrow the airway.

Children with abnormalities involving the lower jaw or tongue, or neuromuscular deficits such as cerebral palsy, have a higher risk of developing SDB.

If my child has SDB, how can we treat it?

Before now, conventional treatment options included prescription drugs, surgery and years in braces, but these only treat the symptoms of SDB, not the cause. 

The Healthy Start System has been specifically designed to promote the proper growth and development of the jaw and airway to optimize airflow and promote proper nasal breathing while straighten-ing your child’s teeth. As these areas develop many of the symptoms of Sleep Disordered Breathing disappear. 

Through a series of oral appliances worn for only a few hours a day or at night, the dental arches gently widen, allowing the jaws to develop correctly. The end result is a more developed airway and a sound, deep sleep for your child.

What is the Healthy Start System?

The Healthy Start System has been specifically designed to promote the proper growth and development of the jaw and airway to optimize airflow and promote proper nasal breathing while straighten-ing your child’s teeth. As these areas develop many of the symptoms of Sleep Disordered Breathing disappear.

When children are treated early the Healthy Start Appliance System treats the root cause of SDB, correcting bad oral habits, naturally promotes growth and development of the jaw and airway, resulting in straight teeth and good health for life.

How do oral appliances work?

Through a series of oral appliances worn for only a few hours a day or at night, the dental arches gently widen, allowing the jaws to develop correctly. The end result is a more developed airway and a sound, deep sleep for your child.

What are the effects of mouth breathing?

Mouth breathing often leads to a further compromise of the airway.

Mouth breathing can prevent the proper function of the tongue and other orofacial muscles that children need to speak, swallow, chew, and function properly. It can also cause the delicate tissues of the tonsils and adenoids to swell and become enlarged further impacting a restricted airway.

Why should SDB be treated in children?

Over the last 20 years, clinical research has found a correlation between common childhood health issues and a single likely root cause – Sleep Disordered Breathing.

This research ties SDB to issues including crooked and crowded teeth, arrested growth and development, behavioural challenges and even bed-wetting. 

By treating the root case of SBD, kids can breathe properly and begin to learn, grow, and blossom into their true genetic potential.

Is SDB the same as sleep apnea?

No. SDB is a general term for breathing difficulties during sleep. SDB can range from frequent loud snoring to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a condition involving repeated episodes of partial or complete blockage of the airway during sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of Sleep Disordered Breathing.

Is bed wetting a sign of SDB?

Bedwetting is often a symptom of SDB in children. SDB can cause increased urine production at night, which may lead to bedwetting (also called enuresis).

How can SDB affect my child's daily life?

Children with SDB may become moody and disruptive, or not pay attention, both at home and at school. SDB can also be a contributing factor to attention deficit disorders in some children.

How is SDB diagnosed?

Sometimes physicians will make a diagnosis of SDB based on history and physical examination.

In other cases, like children suspected of having severe OSA due to craniofacial syndromes, morbid obesity, neuromuscular disorders, or for children less than three-years-old, additional testing such as a sleep test may be recommended.

What is a sleep test?

A sleep study is an objective test for SDB. Wires are attached to the head and body to monitor brain waves, muscle tension, eye movement, breathing, and the level of oxygen in the blood.

The test is not painful and is generally performed in a sleep laboratory or hospital. Sleep tests occasionally produce inaccurate results, especially in children. Borderline or normal sleep test results may still result in a diagnosis of SDB based on parental observations and clinical evaluation.


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