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Causes and Treatment for Teeth Grinding Patients
By Dr. Tracht and Dr. Briskie
December 13, 2011
Category: Tips

 

Welcome to Drs. Tracht and Briskie’s blog!

As specialists in pediatric dentistry, we are often asked about concerns parents have regarding their children’s oral health. Today, we are sharing insight on a commonquestion we often hear from parents of our patients:

My child grinds his/her teeth! What should I do?

Bruxism (the formal word for grinding or gnashing of teeth) is seen very commonly in children. Two to three out of every 10 kids will grind their teeth. Bruxism usually occurs at night during sleep, but can be demonstrated throughout the day, too. The good news is most will outgrow it!

Causes

Children's bites are very flexible and therefore subject to change as they grow. Occasionally, children will exhibit an abnormal bite causing them to grind because of the placement of their teeth.

Stress can sometimes be another cause. So any changes in routine such as a test in school or tension with a friend, sibling, or parent may prompt grinding. It’s good to talk to kids about stress.

Drs. Tracht and Briskie mostly see grinding in children younger than 7 years old. A lot of children will stop grinding once their permanent molars erupt. Their permanent teeth “bite” (occlusion) begins to establish itself once those molars erupt. 

Side Effects

Signs to watch for are grinding during sleep, complaints of a sore jaw, especially in the morning, and pain in the jaw when chewing. Usually, it’s more bothersome to other family members because of the nighttime grinding sound! Some parents say they can hear the grinding in a different area of the house from where their child is sleeping.

This habit, continued consciously or unconsciously over a long period of time, can result in excessive wearing of tooth structure. In permanent teeth, and far more commonly in adults, bruxism can lead to periodontal disease (bone loss) and/or a TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder, resulting in headaches, facial pain, jaw “clicking” etc.

Treatment

Children usually outgrow the habit with no lasting side effects; treatment is usually not necessary. However, if intervention is needed, bruxism can be diagnosed at a routine dental visit.  Drs. Tracht and Briskie’s treatment may include bite adjustments, or a bite guard appliance.

Do you have questions about your child’s teeth grinding? Give Drs. Tracht and Briskie, specialists in pediatric dentistry, a call or schedule an appointment. See here for more information about what we do and how we can help your child.

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