As your child grows, their oral health is constantly changing and improving. They lose and regain teeth, learn proper oral hygiene, become more comfortable at the dentist, and may even have their wisdom teeth removed. Given all this, a mouthguard maybe isn’t one of the first things that come to mind when thinking about your child’s oral health. But should it be?
All of these dental milestones are important, but your child may also hit some bumps along the road when it comes to oral health. One of the more common problems in pediatric dentistry is teeth grinding. Although this may seem like a small issue, the approximately 15%-33% of children who grind their teeth are at risk for severe tooth damage. One of the best protection against teeth grinding is a custom mouthguard that’s both comfortable and protective. Now might be a good time to consider your child’s mouthguard needs.
If you think your child could benefit from a mouthguard or already has one but needs to be refitted, bring them in to see us at Dentistry for Children. Maryam Sina, DDS, and the rest of our staff are dedicated to providing quality care that meets the individualized needs of every child. Dr. Sina has over 25 years of experience working with children and is board-certified in pediatric dentistry.
What is teeth grinding?
Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is a condition in which a patient grinds, gnashes, or clenches their teeth. Most bruxism occurs unconsciously and can happen while you’re awake or asleep.
Teeth grinding while awake is thought to be related to psychosocial factors such as stress, anxiety, and depression. In these cases, teeth grinding may be used as a coping mechanism or as a way to concentrate.
Sleep bruxism is more often categorized as a sleep disorder that often coincides with snoring, sleep apnea, or other sleep issues.
Children are far more likely to grind their teeth. Only 8% of adults suffer from bruxism.
The damage of teeth grinding
The most obvious consequence of teeth grinding is chipped or fractured teeth. Other damaging results include:
- Frequent jaw pain and headaches
- Tense jaw and neck muscles
- Lip or cheek lesions
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Extremely sensitive teeth
- Sleep disruptions
- Worn tooth enamel
- Intermittent pain that feels like an earache
Bruxism is most damaging when your child’s adult teeth are growing in, as the teeth may start to wear down before they have a chance to fully form.
How mouthguards work
A mouthguard fits over the top teeth, where it can best defend against teeth grinding. Because of their simple design, mouthguards can also protect against other injuries, including:
- Cheek lesions from biting too hard or injuries
- Gum and soft tissue wear-and-tear
- Jawbone fractures or excessive tension on the jaw
- Tongue and lip lesions from biting too hard
- Neck injuries
- Tooth fractures from excessive stress on certain teeth
Your child’s mouthguard can also be used for protection while they play sports.
Talk to us about a custom mouthguard
Our custom mouthguards are designed specifically for your child’s mouth. We make an impression of their teeth and use a special material that’s molded over the model to produce the final product. These mouthguards do need to be updated as your child grows.
If it’s time to get your child’s mouthguard needs in order, contact one of our offices in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada, today.