Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, affects about 3 in 10 children. This problem can occur as soon as your infant’s teeth start to emerge, and it can occur day (awake bruxism) or night (sleep bruxism).
If your child grinds their teeth, bring them in to see us at Dentistry for Children in Henderson and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Led by board-certified pediatric dentist Maryam Sina, DDS, our team can evaluate the condition of your child’s teeth and provide them with a customized mouthguard to prevent damage, plus offer suggestions on how to lessen or stop the grinding.
Causes of teeth grinding
Although research hasn’t nailed down exactly why bruxism occurs, experts speculate that situations involving pain, stress, or anger may cause children to grind their teeth.
For example, infants can experience pain and discomfort when they start teething. They might react by grinding their teeth.
If your child is older, they might grind their teeth because of nervous tension when they’re trying to cope with their emotions. It can also happen if they’re feeling pressure, such as taking a test or competing in sports. Arguing can cause them to clench their jaws and grind their teeth, too.
Your child may outgrow bruxism. But if you see signs that they’re continuing to grind their teeth, allow us to examine their teeth so we can provide the answers you need — plus treatment, if needed.
Signs of teeth grinding
Teeth grinding doesn’t always have symptoms, but if your child is experiencing any of the following, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment for your child. Dealing with teeth grinding early can help prevent damage to their teeth.
Signs that your child may be grinding their teeth include:
- Wearing down of tooth enamel
- Chipped teeth
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
- Jaw pain
- Interrupted sleep
When we examine your child’s teeth, we check for wear-and-tear and determine if their teeth have become sensitive or fragile. If we notice any damage, we recommend treatment.
Treatment for teeth grinding
If your child grinds their teeth while they sleep, the most common form of bruxism, we can customize a mouthguard from a mold of their mouth to wear at night. This mouthpiece is similar to what athletes use during competition.
Other remedies for sleep bruxism focus on making sure your child is relaxed before they go to bed. For example, give them a warm bath before bedtime, play soothing music, or read to them.
If the issue occurs during the daytime due to stress or anger, talk to your child and let them know they can talk to you about what’s bothering them. Reassurance from Mom or Dad can help them relax and play a role in helping them stop grinding their teeth.