The sound is as unnerving as scraping fingernails across a blackboard. You do a double take when you realize the sound you are hearing is coming from your sleeping child's bedroom. What could possibly be going on in there? Can such a small person can make such a loud noise? Bruxism is the medical term for the grinding of teeth or the clenching of jaws. Many kids have it (2-3 out of every 10 children will grind their teeth experts say), but most outgrow it. It's so common, in fact, that it is often considered normal behavior. It is only when it causes severe tooth wear, pain, or trouble sleeping that it may rise to the level of a significant problem. Like adults, most children who grind their teeth are unaware that they are doing it, so it's often left to parents or siblings to identify the problem.
What to watch for:
- Loud grinding noises when your child is sleeping
- Complaints of a sore jaw or face after waking up in the morning
- Pain with chewing
- Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
If you think your child is grinding his or her teeth, visit the dentist, who will examine the teeth for worn enamel, chipped teeth unusual sensitivity.
How do I stop his/her teeth grinding?
You should know that there is no known cure for teeth grinding.
First, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Grinding and clenching can make a child's face and jaw sore or damage the teeth, dentists may prescribe a night guard to prevent this. The night guard is similar to the protective mouthpieces worn by athletes.
Nightguards can take some getting used to, but positive results happen quickly. There are many choices of dental nightguard available. It is important to keep in mind the age of the child and that a child’s dental anatomy is continually changing, so unless the night guard is remoldable, you will have to replace it frequently.
Most cases of bruxism occur naturally during the growth and development of a child. If you suspect that your child is grinding their teeth, talk to your dentist about what treatment plan is best suited for your child's needs. Many children will outgrow the night grinding habit by age 12.
There it sits, your night guard on the bedside table gathering dust. You know you are supposed to wear it, but you find it hideously unattractive, poorly fit, and you can’t get to sleep because you are gagging on the excess saliva drooling down your face. The truth is that bruxism can cause real [...]