As a pediatric dentist, we are seeing an increase in teeth grinding (Bruxism) among our patients. People grind teeth for many reasons including as a side effect of medication, untreated lip tie, stress, or a misalignment of the jaw. This condition most commonly occurs at night, although it may be present at limited times during the day.
Signs and Symptoms
Many times, bruxism is audible and easy to recognize. However, there are other signs to pay attention to that could be related. If your child complains of any of the following, they could be grinding their teeth:
- Sore jaw, particularly in the morning upon waking
- Frequent headaches
- Tooth sensitivity, especially to hot and cold
- Injury to gums or teeth
- Regular clenching of their jaw
Effects of Grinding on Teeth
Constant friction of the teeth causes enamel to wear down compromising the integrity of your child’s tooth. Chronic bruxism creates loosening and fracturing of the teeth. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (or TMJ) is a condition that can also be caused by teeth grinding. This is a disorder wherein the jaw muscles are affected to the extent of causing severe pain or limiting the jaw’s movement due to tightness and malalignment.
Treatment for Bruxism
Fortunately, there are treatment options for teeth grinding that you can do at home to help alleviate symptoms. Hold a warm washcloth on the jaw to help the muscles relax. Massage and stretch the facial muscles. Try to decrease your child’s stress before they go to bed. Additionally, be sure to talk to your child’s dentist. Sometimes we recommend a mouthguard. However, there may be other factors requiring professional evaluation. Frisco children’s dentistry experts at Sheer Smiles Pediatric Dentistry can help.
If you have noticed your child grinding their teeth, or if they are complaining of tooth sensitivity, jaw pain, headaches, or their teeth look worn, contact Sheer Smiles Pediatric Dentistry in Frisco today. Call us at (972) 987-0787.