Bruxism is most commonly referred to as grinding your teeth, or clenching your jaws. You might know that this is definitely an issue for some adults, as a result of stress, sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked. But did you know that your children could also develop bruxism for different reasons? Children can start this unsavory habit if there is irritation in the mouth, allergies, or misaligned teeth.
Because their teeth and jaws change and grow so quickly, it is not always a damaging habit that requires treatment. In fact, most of those who start grinding their teeth as a child grow out of it by adolescence. However, if you think your child is doing this, you should still visit the dentist; they’ll examine their teeth for chipped enamel and unusual wear, and spray air and water on the teeth to check for unusual sensitivity.
The dentist will determine whether the cause is anatomical (misaligned teeth) or psychological (stress), and then come up with an effective treatment plan. In cases where the grinding and clenching make a child’s face and jaw sore or damage the teeth, dentists may prescribe a special night guard. Molded to a child’s teeth, the night guard is similar to the protective mouthpieces worn by athletes. Though a mouthpiece can take some getting used to, positive results happen quickly.
Have more questions about teeth grinding? Contact us today! We’re happy to answer any questions about this habit and help prevent your child from damaging their pearly whites.