Teeth Grinding and Clenching in Children: Is it a Problem?

If your child grinds or clenches their teeth when they sleep, it can cause a reasonable concern for you as a parent. While the problem is not something you need to rush to the emergency room for, it is something that needs to be monitored and looked at by a dentist. Grinding or clenching one’s teeth is known as a condition called bruxism. This is a somewhat common condition in children as fifteen to thirty-three percent of children are affected by it. However, the good news is that most children grow out of it.

What Causes Bruxism?

While the cause is not completely clear, experts have determined a number of factors that may contribute to why your child is experiencing bruxism. Below you will find some of the most common factors that can lead to bruxism.

  • Misaligned Teeth: For children whose top and bottom teeth are not aligned, they may end up grinding their teeth during their sleep.
  • Pain: Grinding one’s teeth can also be a response to pain from an earache or due to teething. This may ease the pain, just like rubbing a sore muscle.
  • Stress: Nerves and tension can cause children to grind their teeth during their sleep. Whether it’s a test at school or something else that is causing them anxiety, the tense energy may result in clenching and teeth grinding.

Signs and Symptoms

There are several signs and symptoms of bruxism, with teeth grinding at night being the most common. However, some other indicators point towards your child having bruxism. If your child complains about having a sore jaw or face after they wake up in the morning, it could be caused by bruxism. Another indicator is if your child has issues with chewing, including pain and tenderness.

What are the Effects of Bruxism?

While some cases of bruxism can be completely harmless, others may cause more issues for your child. Below are some of the effects of bruxism that will likely require a trip to the dentist.

  • Headaches or Earaches: Grinding and tension can cause headaches or earaches.
  • Damage to Teeth: If the grinding is really bad, it can sometimes wear down your child’s tooth enamel or chip their teeth.
  • Jaw Problems: If the clenching and grinding get bad enough, it can cause severe pain in your child’s face and jaw. It can also lead to TMJ in some of the more severe cases.While most children have little to no negative effects from their bruxism, it’s essential to keep an eye on the issue and visit the dentist if you are concerned.

Treatment Options

Children already need their regular dental checkups every six months. So, you can bring any issues up with the dentist at that appointment. If you are concerned outside of the routine checkup time, set up an appointment with the dentist just to be safe. They will be able to diagnose the issues and provide treatment options if necessary.

Again, while many children outgrow bruxism, there is a small subset that may need treatment to get through it. Dentists can provide children with a unique nightguard that can quickly address the grinding and clenching caused by bruxism. The night guard is molded to your child’s teeth and is very similar to the protective mouthpieces worn by athletes. It will likely take some time getting used to, but it dramatically improves the effects of the condition.

Dentists in Hollywood

If you are concerned your child may be suffering from bruxism, contact Dr. Rhonda at Glo Modern Dentistry. Dr. Rhonda Kalasho is one of the most trusted and highly reputable dentists in the area. She has been trained at one of the nation’s top universities, UCLA.

If you are concerned about your child’s teeth, need a cleaning, or have any dental questions, contact Dr. Rhonda Kalasho and her team at Glo Modern Dentistry today!