Childhood Bruxism and What To Do About It

Childhood Bruxism and What To Do About It

Being a new parent can be scary time whenever you notice things happening to your child that you cannot explain.  Because parents want to protect their children from any kind of harm, noticing ways that the child may be harming themselves can be especially distressing.  Pediatric bruxism is one of those conditions that can cause a parent to be extremely distressed, but understanding the problem can help.  Bruxism is the medical term for grinding your teeth at night, and in adults it can cause severe dental issues like worn enamel and cracked teeth.  Many times parents are the first ones to notice that your child is grinding their teeth while they sleep, when they hear the sounds that are coming from their child’s mouth.  This is often heard as the squeaking sound as the child moves their jaw and pushes their upper and lower teeth against one another.  They also open a notice that the child’s teeth are getting progressively shorter, creating a visual look that is distressing.  No matter what, the first thing to do is contact your pediatric dentist in order to have the condition looked into.  They will potentially advise that a treatment may be necessary in the form of mouth guard, but this type of treatment is generally reserved for severe cases only.  This is because the potential for a mouth guard to be dislodged while a child is asleep creates the choking hazard, and the negative effects that this could have will outweigh the positive effects.  It will be up to your child’s dentist to determine the severity of the condition and if any treatment is necessary.  In most cases, childhood bruxism does not require treatment and goes away in between the ages of six and 12 years old.  Most cases will begin to subside after the age of six and go away completely somewhere between nine and twelve.

There are several reasons that your child may be grinding their teeth.  Psychological stresses have a severe impact on children, and many times bruxism is the manifestation of those stresses.  Children find new environments stressful like moving or going to school for the first times.  Divorces can also have an impact on the child psychology that result in teeth grinding.  Another potential cause is a buildup of pressure in the inner ear during the nighttime.  The same way that we will find pressure building in our inner ear when we take an airplane or driving over a mountain, your child may feel pressure building up while they are asleep.  We have learned techniques to alleviate this pressure like chewing gum or yawning, but children while they are asleep will generally move their job back and forth to accomplish this goal.  This will result in the teeth grinding together and possibly creating sounds were erosion of the enamel.  While none of these potential problems are positive, parents must understand that it is not generally a huge problem that cannot be dealt with.  Contact your dentist to discuss what can be done

For information about the best Las Vegas children’s dentist, contact Dr. Gary Richardson at Adventure Smiles.