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Tonsils and Adenoids: Informing Patients About OSA Causes

Of the many causes of sleep apnea, infections to the tonsils and adenoids can play a big part, especially in younger children. While patients usually have some background information regarding tonsils and adenoids, our goal is keeping them informed so they know their options.

Patients should know that tonsils and adenoids are part of the immune system, trapping bacteria when you breathe in. Tonsils are found in the back of the mouth. Adenoids are found in the back of the nasal passage. When you open your mouth, you can see your tonsils, but the adenoids can only be viewed using a small mirror or a flexible telescope. Sometimes, the tonsils and adenoids can become inflamed and enlarged from fighting infections.

Problems With Tonsils and Adenoids

The most common problem with tonsils is tonsillitis, an infection of the tonsils. It’s characterized by a cough, fever, headache, painful swallowing and swollen neck glands. Sometimes we may need to recommend having the patients tonsils taken out with frequent get tonsillitis. But, another common problem that would require a tonsillectomy is if the tonsils are obstructing your airway and contributing to obstructive sleep apnea. The DSM Solutions team can help you diagnose those cases.

Swollen and enlarged adenoids are most common in children, because the adenoids usually stop growing by the time patients are about 7. Adenoids tend to shrink and may even disappear for teenaged patients. However, swollen adenoids can block breathing through the nose and cause difficulty with breathing, another potential cause of sleep apnea your Westlake Village, CA sleep apnea team talks about.

Treat Sleep Apnea

Contact Dr. Steven Greenman to discuss chronic sleep apnea and find a solution, or to request information for our education programs help your patients find relief as a dentist on the front lines for sleep apnea solutions.