It is fairly common for children to get into the habit of grinding or clenching their teeth, especially while they’re sleeping. Most will grow out of it, but bruxism should be addressed if it continues after the permanent teeth have come in. If the habit is allowed to go on the grinding action may begin to erode the tooth enamel and affect the normal size of the teeth.
The night time grinding can sometimes be so noisy that a brother or sister who shares the same bedroom will hear it and alert their parents as to what is going on. Otherwise the situation may go unnoticed as the child can himself often sleep right through the commotion. Children who suffer from bruxism may be unaware of the fact that they are clenching their teeth even during waking hours.
There are several theories about what may be at the root of all that grinding and clenching. Some professionals feel that it is an emotional response to stress. We know that children as well as adults, can experience the anxiety that comes with going through a disturbing circumstance. It could be brought about by anything from a particularly difficult day at school to learning that a good buddy is moving away.
On the other hand, there could very well be some sort of blockage in the upper respiratory tract. Enlarged tonsils or adenoids have been known to contribute to bruxism as has asthma and sleep-apnea. All possibilities should be explored before treatment can begin.
If you suspect that your child is displaying symptoms of bruxism the first step is to make him aware that he may have become dependent on the habit. Next, schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatric dentist so that a definite diagnosis can be made. If necessary your dentist can construct a custom mouth-guard that will keep your child from grinding his teeth at night. He may also suggest making a change in the way your child takes care of his teeth. Aggressive brushing can contribute to the damage caused by bruxism.
Dentist 4 Kidz is conveniently located on Potomac Way in Aurora. Call the office @ 303-367-1502 to make your appointment.