Teeth Grinding in Kids

Southern Pines Dentist

Teeth Grinding in KidsBruxism – commonly known as teeth grinding – often develops in children around the ages of 4 or 5 and typically goes away on its own before the child reaches puberty. Current estimates suggest that as many as 30% of children will show signs of bruxism at some point. Dentists in the Southern Pines, NC area are able to diagnose and manage bruxism in both children and adults.

Children who suffer from bruxism are likely to experience tooth sensitivity, tightness in the jaw muscles, frequent earaches, morning headaches, generalized facial pain and bite marks inside of the cheek. Interestingly, the exact cause of bruxism is not completely understood, but dental experts suspect that the condition is caused by stress while others suggest it is related to tooth pain or bite problems.

Fortunately, most childhood bruxism issues will resolve themselves before the child loses the baby teeth, so there is little risk for permanent damage. Quite often, the headaches and jaw pain will be the worst of your child’s experiences and the condition may disappear on its own before you are able to determine the cause.

Consult a Dentist

Grinding and clenching can occasionally be severe enough to result in damaged enamel and chipped teeth, leading to temperature sensitivity, more severe facial pain and jaw problems like temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMD). While these complications are rare in children, children who complain of ongoing tooth and jaw pain should be evaluated by a family dentist to discuss the treatment possibilities.

Childhood bruxism typically ends once all of the baby teeth have been lost, but a long-term problem could risk the health of the permanent teeth.  If you suspect that your child has been dealing with teeth grinding or clenching at night, try to observe the symptoms a little more closely and discuss the problem with your New Holland dentist. Close observation at home and routine dental visits will enable you to properly manage your child’s bruxism and protect their teeth.