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Understanding Childhood Bruxism: When to Seek Pediatric Dentistry Help

Understanding Childhood Bruxism: When to Seek Pediatric Dentistry Help

Does Your Child Grind Their Teeth While Sleeping? It Could Be Bruxism!

Have you noticed your child grinding or clenching their teeth while sleeping? This common habit, known as bruxism, can cause various oral health problems and others. If you are concerned about your child’s bruxism, you are not alone. In this article, we will explain what bruxism is, its causes, how to treat it, and when to seek help from a pediatric dentist.

What is bruxism?

Bruxism is the involuntary grinding or clenching of the teeth, usually during sleep. While common in young children, it usually goes away on its own as they grow older. However, in some cases, it can persist and cause dental and health problems.

Bruxism can be:

  • Centric, which involves only clenching the teeth.
  • Eccentric, where the upper teeth rub against the lower ones.

What are the causes of bruxism?

The exact causes of bruxism are not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to a combination of factors:

  • Stress or anxiety: Stress or anxiety in children can manifest through bruxism.
  • Toothache or gum pain: Discomfort caused by teething, a bad bite, or orthodontic problems can lead to bruxism.
  • Sleep disorders: Some sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, may be associated with bruxism.
  • Medications: Certain prescription medications can have bruxism as a side effect.
  • Genetics: Bruxism can be hereditary.

Characteristics of a child with bruxism may include:

  • Grinding or clenching of teeth, especially during sleep.
  • Complaints of jaw pain or soreness upon waking up.
  • Tooth sensitivity, especially to hot or cold temperatures.
  • Wear or flattening of teeth.
  • Fractured or chipped teeth.
  • Increased tooth mobility.
  • Headaches, particularly in the morning.
  • Earaches or facial pain.
  • Disrupted sleep patterns or tiredness during the day.

How is bruxism treated?

In most cases, bruxism does not require specific treatment and goes away on its own. However, if bruxism is severe or causes dental problems, a pediatric dentist may recommend different treatment options, such as:

  • Mouth guards or splints: These devices are placed over the teeth at night to protect them from wear and tear.
  • Behavioral therapy: This therapy can help children identify and manage the stress or anxiety that contributes to bruxism.
  • Treatment for dental or orthodontic problems: If bruxism is related to dental or orthodontic problems, these should be treated appropriately.

When to take your child to the pediatric dentist?

It is important to seek help from a pediatric dentist if:

  • Your child’s bruxism is severe or persists after the age of 7.
  • Bruxism is causing tooth wear, jaw pain, or sleep problems.
  • Your child has other symptoms such as headaches, tinnitus, or fatigue.

At Clover Hills Dentistry, our expert pediatric dentists are trained to diagnose and treat bruxism effectively. We offer a warm and welcoming environment for children and are committed to providing them with the best possible care.

Schedule an appointment and ensure your child’s oral health and well-being.

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