Teeth Grinding In Children

by Samantha on July 6, 2013

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is the involuntary grinding of teeth together and can occur just as often in children as it can in adults. A huge cause for bruxism in adults is stress. That’s not exactly the case in children, although children can certainly experience stress. They usually suffer from sleep bruxism, and it’s a very common occurrence in children.

Mt. Pleasant Dental dentists believe that children develop bruxism due to baby teeth not growing as they should, thus, causing a problem with their bite. This is a theory since the precise reason for children’s bruxism isn’t known. It’s typical for baby teeth not to match, which causes them to clench or grind their teeth involuntarily, whether it’s during the day or while sleeping at night.

Parents of children with bruxism shouldn’t over worry about it as this isn’t a real health threat at that age. Yes, bruxism can directly damage the enamel of the teeth but your children will be losing their baby teeth and growing an entirely new set. By the time they reach adolescence and have all new teeth, the bruxism has typically disappeared. If this doesn’t happen, that’s when parents need to get their children checked by a dentist.

Rarely do dentist need to treat teeth grinding in children since they usually outgrow it. However, there are cases of extreme teeth grinding that lead to other uncomfortable side issues such as headaches and facial pain. If your child begins to experience any of those symptoms, you should see your dentist.

If it does come to that, your dentist will conduct a full examination of your child’s teeth and mouth. This includes checking for damages to the enamel on the teeth to insure that any severe headaches are caused by teeth grinding. You’ll be asked questions regarding your child’s health history as well as your own. Be sure the dentist knows the frequency of the teeth grinding.

Bruxism in children is treated differently than in adults. Where corrective surgery may be used in an adult, rarely will it be used in children. Instead, most children are given dental devices such as night guards. These are plastic mouth or teeth devices meant to be worn at night while the child is sleeping.

They are typically customized to fit the child’s teeth. You can find ready to use night guards at your local pharmacies but these won’t provide a perfect fit. Getting a perfect match is highly important so that the guard doesn’t slip off while the child is sleeping.

If, however, it is suspected that the true culprit of your child’s teeth grinding is stress related, you should do things to make sure he or she is relaxed at bedtime. This can include warm milk, a warm bath or shower, of even reading a favorite book.

Anything that will encourage your child to relax and feel ready for sleep should be utilized. Maybe you can even try something different each night to offer a variety and keep the relaxation method interesting and effective.

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