Adults and children alike suffer from bruxism or grinding their teeth. Some children grind their teeth during the daytime, but most grind their teeth during the night (while sleeping). According to the grinding frequency, intensity, and underlying causes, bruxism can cause various dental problems.
In addition to psychological, physiological, and physical factors, other factors contribute to children bruxing. Bruxism is related to several factors, including jaw misalignment (bad bite), stress, and traumatic brain injury. However, this problem can also be caused by certain medications that cause side effects, such as toothache.
Why do you grind your teeth?
Most parents can hear their children grinding loudly in the middle of the night, especially when they are young. However, subtle jaw clenching and grinding can be difficult to detect during the day. Children who brux often exhibit general symptoms that provide clues as to their condition, such as:
- Headaches are frequently reported.
- Gums and teeth that are injured.
- Grinding or clicking sounds.
- Rhythmic clenching or tightening of the jaw muscles.
- Morning pain in the jaw muscles is unusual.
- Cold and hot foods cause unusual tooth sensitivity.
How can bruxism damage my child’s teeth?
A person with bruxism grinds their upper and lower jaws against each other. It is especially common for children who grind vigorously to experience moderate to severe jaw discomfort, headaches, and ear pain. A pediatric dentist las vegas can detect nighttime bruxing even if the child is unaware of it (and the parents cannot hear it).
It is common for chronic grinders to show an excessive wear pattern on their teeth due to their grinding habits. Teeth enamel may be worn down in specific areas if jaw misalignment is the cause.
Moreover, children with bruxing are more likely to experience chipped teeth, facial pain, gum injury, and temperature sensitivity. Grinding the teeth frequently and harshly may result in the early onset of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).
How does bruxism develop?
Several factors can cause bruxism. Most cases of grinding are caused by a “bad bite” or jaw misalignment. In addition, pediatric dentists notice that children tend to brux more frequently during stress. Nighttime bruxing may either begin or intensify if a child is experiencing a particularly stressful exam period or is relocating to a new school, for instance, during a period when exams are particularly stressful.
There is a possibility that children with certain developmental disorders and brain injuries may be more prone to grinding their teeth. When the child’s facial muscles are overactive, the pediatric dentist may prescribe botulism injections to calm the muscles and provide a protective nighttime mouthpiece to help calm the muscles. It is recommended that current medications should be evaluated if the onset of bruxing is sudden. Although bruxing is a rare side effect of certain medications, it may need to be changed to a different brand to prevent this side effect.
What is the treatment for bruxism?
In most children, bruxing ceases spontaneously at the age of thirteen. Pediatric dentists will continue to monitor the effect it has on the child’s teeth and may provide an interventional strategy as soon as possible.
In general, the treatment approach depends on the cause of the grinding. The pediatric dentist can take steps to correct a badly misaligned child’s teeth if the parents have neglected them. The options available to you include altering the biting surface of teeth with crowns and initiating occlusal treatment for the teeth.
It should be noted that bruxing may be exacerbated by stress. Therefore, the pediatric dentist may suggest relaxation classes, professional therapy, or special exercises alleviate this condition.
Additionally, a pediatrician may prescribe muscle relaxants to ease jaw clenching and reduce spasms. A pediatric dentist may recommend a specialized nighttime dental appliance like a nighttime mouth guard when young teeth are sustaining significant damage. It is important to note that mouth guards are designed to protect teeth from grinding against each other and look similar to mouthpieces that individuals might wear during sports activities. The same effect can be achieved with bite splints or bite plates, which almost universally prevent grinding damage.