Bruxism is one of the most common issues in pediatric dentistry. It’s right up there with cavities and thumb sucking. At Just For Kids Dentistry in Las Vegas, it’s one of the things we are always on the lookout for during dental exams.
More commonly known as teeth grinding, it happens most often when kids are asleep. But it can also show itself as teeth clenching during the day. It can be bad for developing young teeth and jaws. If there is any good news here, it’s that most kids eventually outgrow it.
We don’t know exactly why some kids grind their teeth while others don’t. Some may grind because their top and bottom teeth aren’t properly aligned, while others may do it in response to tooth pain – sort of like rubbing a sore muscle.
And then there is the stress factor. This is most likely to show up in school-aged kids, who may worry about homework or a new teacher. It may also come about because of tension with a sibling or an argument with a parent. Some kids are just plain hyperactive.
It’s never a bad idea to take a look at your kids as they sleep. First of all, it’s nice to see them sleeping peacefully. But if there is teeth grinding going on, you may actually hear the gnashing sounds. If you do, let us know.
We are likely to see the signs ourselves, during a dental exam. Teeth grinding and clenching can wear down tooth enamel or even chip teeth. We’ll definitely notice that. There may be increased sensitivity to temperature, or jaw or facial pain. If your child complains about that, tell us.
In some cases TMD is possible. That’s short for temporomandibular joing disorder. TMD is not very common in children, however, even those with bruxism.
A common fix for bruxism is wearing a nightguard, which is a plastic mouth guard similar to what athletes wear. It won’t stop the grinding, but will protect young teeth, and offer a cushion.
Remember, most kids outgrow it. But if your child is grinding his or her teeth, let us know at the next checkup and cleaning. At Just For Kids Dentistry in Las Vegas, we provide expert pediatric dentistry. Schedule an appointment today.