A common question our office gets asked daily is what can I do about my child grinding his teeth? So what is grinding? According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), tooth grinding or bruxism is the habitual & forceful unnatural contact between teeth when a child is awake or asleep.
There are many factors that have been linked with tooth grinding that may include getting new teeth, the loss of teeth, stress, and airway obstructions. Early wearing down of teeth, headaches, and muscle soreness have been reported complications of tooth grinding. Sometimes we’ll even have parents report that their child’s grinding is keeping them up at night!
Grinding is very common in young children. Fortunately, in a pre-teen child the effects and length of grinding are often short-lived. Most kids will grow out of the grinding as they approach their teenage years. If grinding persists after the adult teeth have erupted it may be time to consider using a night guard. Many types of night guards/ mouth guards/ occlusal guards exist and it is important to talk with your dentist about the best type of night guard to consider. While night guards won’t stop a person from grinding, the guards can act as a cushion or protective layer between the top and bottom teeth. A night guard may just allow the jaws to rest… and any nearby sleeping companions : )
Matthew L. Rasche, DDS, MSD, Board Certified Pediatric Dentist, Southern Indiana Pediatric Dentistry, www.SiPediatricDentistry.com, (812) 333-KIDS