Believe it or not, even children can struggle with bruxism during sleep or when they are under stress. What is bruxism? It's the medical term for grinding of the teeth or excessive clenching of the jaws.
While no one is sure why children struggle with bruxism from time to time, it's an important issue that you need to address with us, your child's dentist.
In some children, bruxism is caused by a misalignment of the teeth, or a reaction to pain such as an ear infection, teething or sore throat. The motion of teeth grinding can alleviate some of the pain, similar to the way rubbing a sore muscle lessens the discomfort. These causes are easily remedied and most children grow out of it quickly.
Stress is another thing to consider if you notice your child grinding his or her teeth. Nervous tension, worries about school or home and even fighting with siblings, parents or friends can trigger your child into bruxism. Children who suffer from ADHD, or another serious medical condition may also develop bruxism.
What To Do About It? If you suspect that your child may be causing damage to their teeth by grinding, please give us a call right away. Bruxism can lead to chipped teeth, irregularly worn teeth, sensitivity and severe facial pain. Left untreated, bruxism can develop into TMJ, an inflammation of the jaw bone joint. With your help, we can determine whether the bruxism is caused by physical or psychological reasons and together, we will come up with the correct treatment plan for your child.
Although most children outgrow bruxism, occasionally a mouth piece to be worn to bed is needed. Helping your child relax and unwind prior to getting into bed is another effective way to reduce the stress of bruxism. Talk with your child regularly about how they're feeling. Bringing your child to see us regularly can help you find a treatment for bruxism.