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Bruxism in Children: What to Look for and How to Treat It

Bruxism in Children: What to Look for and How to Treat It

Teeth grinding (also known as bruxism) is a common problem for children, affecting approximately three out of ten children at some point. It usually happens at night while they sleep, and can have short- and long-term symptoms ranging from headaches and jaw pain to damage to the teeth.

Our dentists Dr. Ki Youn Kil, Dr. Nathalie Phaeton, and our team at Oasis Pediatric Dental Care and Orthodontics offer pediatric dentistry and orthodontic services at our office in Falls Church, Virginia.

What is bruxism?

Occasional teeth grinding and clenching is normal. Bruxism involves constant teeth grinding and can damage your child’s teeth and cause other symptoms. While it can happen during the day (known as awake bruxism), most people grind their teeth at night while they sleep. 

Bruxism can be difficult to detect at first because your child may not realize they’re grinding their teeth and clenching their jaw while asleep. If your child shares a room with a sibling, they can often hear the teeth grinding.

It can also be difficult to pinpoint an exact cause for bruxism, but stress and anxiety can often lead to teeth grinding in children as well as adults. 

Orthodontic problems may also cause teeth grinding.

Signs and symptoms of bruxism in children

Some of the most common symptoms of bruxism include headaches, earaches, facial pain, and tooth sensitivity.

Depending on the severity of your child’s bruxism and how long it’s been going on, it can also cause chips, cracks, and wear-and-tear on the tooth enamel.

If your child complains of jaw pain or facial pain when they wake up or while chewing, it may be a sign of teeth grinding.

Bruxism prevention and treatment

It can be difficult to detect bruxism on your own, so the best way to monitor your child’s dental health and detect bruxism is to schedule regular dental exams and cleanings every six months, or when symptoms develop.

Our dentists will detect signs of damage to your child’s teeth from bruxism and recommend treatment and prevention techniques to help you deal with teeth grinding. A custom-made night guard is a common treatment for bruxism. It protects your child’s teeth from friction and damage while they sleep.

If your child’s bruxism is a symptom of bite and alignment problems, our orthodontist may recommend braces.

Your child’s dentist and pediatrician can also recommend techniques to help your child manage any stress, anxiety, or health issues that may be contributing to their bruxism.

For more information about the potential causes, symptoms, and treatment options for bruxism in children, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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