Does Your Child Grind Their Teeth?
Teeth clenching and grinding are known as bruxism. It’s a common condition, but it can cause severe dental issues if left untreated. Bruxism can affect people in all stages of life and can be particularly detrimental to children.
Some children’s bruxism only occurs during the day, but teeth grinding during sleep is the most prevalent type. At Corner Stone Dental, our top-rated dentists can diagnose your child’s bruxism and get them the treatment they need to protect their smile.
Symptoms of Bruxism
Sometimes parents can hear their child’s intense teeth grinding, especially if it occurs during the night. Daytime grinding and clenching can be more difficult to notice, but there are additional symptoms that may indicate your child requires treatment. These include:
- Frequent headaches
- Injured teeth and gums
- Loud clicking noises when they open their mouth
- Tightening or clenching jaw muscles
- Sore jaw muscles in the morning
- Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods
The condition of your child’s teeth often provides clues about the intensity and frequency of teeth grinding. For example, chronic bruxism will erode your child’s teeth, wearing down tooth enamel, and leading to an increased risk for cavities.
What Causes Children to Grind Their Teeth?
Several factors contribute to teeth grinding, and we’ll pinpoint the source of your child’s pain. Most commonly, jaw misalignment can result in grinding because the patient has an uncomfortable bite, which is referred to as malocclusion.
Stress is another common cause of bruxism in children. If this is the case, we’ll recommend strategies to help your child reduce stress. We also have treatments to protect their teeth.
In the majority of children, bruxism ceases by the age of 13. But it’s still important to seek treatment because teeth grinding can negatively impact your child’s health. The cause and severity of your child’s bruxism will determine our treatment strategy.
Correcting Poor Alignment
If your child’s teeth are poorly aligned, we’ll take measures to correct them. This may involve altering the biting surface of the teeth using crowns or correcting the position of your child’s teeth through orthodontic treatment.
When stress is an underlying cause of bruxism, we need to treat your child’s stress directly. In these cases, we may recommend relaxation classes, professional therapy, or special breathing exercises. We can also provide muscle relaxants to help with jaw clenching.
In cases involving significant damage, our dentist may recommend a nighttime dental appliance, often referred to as a bite guard. These appliances are similar to a sports mouthguard, but they’re comfortable enough to wear while sleeping. Bite guards protect your teeth by preventing tooth surfaces from grinding against each other.
Frequently Asked Questions
With the help of a professional, you can discover ways to stop grinding your teeth. There are several potential reasons for your teeth grinding, including anxiety or stress, malocclusion, or even sleep apnea. Depending on the cause of your bruxism, your treatment recommendations will be different.
Teeth grinding is usually a side effect of another physical or mental health issue. One common cause is anxiety or stress, but bruxism can also be the result of missing or misaligned teeth. In some cases, sleep apnea can also lead to nighttime teeth grinding. Your dentist can examine all the possibilities and determine the reason behind your teeth grinding.
Pain from bruxism can manifest as:
- Pain in your face
- Pain in your jaw joint
If you often feel pain in your face, head, or ears, we recommend an examination by a dental professional. We’ll determine the cause of your pain and provide convenient treatment options.