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The Gnashing of Teeth

Most parents enjoy peering in on their peaceful little ones at night when they’re sleeping; they appear almost angelic – so quiet, so serene.

Dentist holding a custom mouth guard

Custom mouth guards, worn to bed, can help prevent teeth grinding.

And then, the silence is broken by the gnashing and grinding of teeth, back and forth, back and forth – that awful sound, the crunching and cracking – it’s awful. Why do children (and some adults even) do that? Is it harmful? Do they ever outgrow it?

If your child suffers from bruxism, or teeth grinding as it’s more commonly called, you have every reason for concern! But we’re here to help and to reassure you. Give Anchorage Dental Care a call today and make an appointment to have your child seen by the dentist to determine whether your child needs certain treatment as a result of grinding their teeth.

What Causes Teeth Grinding?

Did you know that three out of every 10 children grind their teeth, with the highest number under the age of five? But what causes them to grind their teeth? Sometimes it’s due to misalignment of the upper and lower teeth or maybe it’s due to teething and rubbing the teeth back and forth over each other eases the pain.

Stress is sometimes cited as another reason for teeth grinding. Some children grind their teeth as way to deal with anxiety, fear, frustration, or anger. A hyperactive child may also be more prone to teeth grinding.

Can Grinding Harm My Child’s Teeth?

Usually, grinding causes minimal wear to your child’s teeth. Baby teeth can withstand a lot of surface wear and tear without causing pain or additional problems.

However, it’s a good idea to have your child see us if you notice any wear on the teeth or if your child is experiencing pain, headaches, jaw pain, or earaches. Addressing this problem early on helps your child to avoid infection and possibly the need for extensive (and expensive) restorations.

How Do You Treat Bruxism?

Most of the time, no treatment is necessary and you child will outgrow teeth grinding by the age of 10.

However, if the problem is severe enough to warrant treatment, we might suggest stress management, such as counseling, a warm bath or a story before bed as a way to relax your child. It also helps to have your child talk about his or her day prior to going to bed. This allows you an opportunity to question your child about whether something made him or her feel sad, scared, angry, tense or worried.

We might also recommend a night guard that is custom fitted to your child’s mouth. This device limits your child’s ability to clench or grind his or her teeth. Custom-fitted mouth guards stay in place better than those you can purchase over-the-counter in your local pharmacy.

Don’t Just Sit and Worry…

… about your child’s teeth grinding! Call us to schedule an appointment to find out whether you have a concern or not. At Anchorage Dental Care we’re here to ease your child’s pain and your concerns!