Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) In Children – What Parents Can Do

Teeth grinding (bruxism) can happen at any age, and is actually relatively widespread in kids. While it often causes no serious issues, it can lead to tooth damage and other complications in some cases. 

This means that it’s important to understand bruxism in children, how to recognize it, and how it may be treated by a dentist like Dr. Lisa Skutak. In this blog from Skutak Dental, we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about teeth grinding in kids. Read on to get the answers you need.

How Common Is Teeth Grinding In Kids?

Some studies have placed the prevalence of teeth grinding in kids at between 6% and 50%. That’s a wide range, but another systematic review of available studies puts it at around 26%, which sounds right based on our experience.

This means that teeth grinding is actually quite a bit more common in kids than adults. The rate of teeth grinding in adults is estimated to be around 8-10%. 

How Do I Know If My Child Grinds Their Teeth?

The symptoms of bruxism in children are similar to those found in adults. Your child may complain of headaches, earaches, facial pain and discomfort, and pain or tenderness in their jaw.

If you observe your child when they sleep, you may even be able to hear grinding, popping, squeaking sounds as their teeth are clenched and rubbed together.

Eventually, severe teeth grinding can result in flattening, wear, and damage to the teeth, which is usually noticed by a dentist. This can happen to both adult teeth and baby teeth. 

What Can I Do If My Child Is Grinding Their Teeth?

If you think that your child grinds their teeth, you may be wondering what to do about it. The answer depends on your child, the severity of their condition, and why your dentist thinks it’s happening. 

  • “Watchful waiting” – As mentioned briefly above, most kids eventually “grow out of” grinding their teeth. It’s usually a temporary problem. If you bring it up with your child’s dentist and your child has no serious symptoms or discomfort due to grinding and their teeth are healthy, their dentist may recommend “watchful waiting.”

    In other words, you’ll just keep an eye on your child’s oral health. If the issue doesn't get worse and eventually resolves itself, no further treatment will be needed.

  • Night guards – If your child has severe grinding issues, a night guard may be recommended. This is a plastic appliance that fits over their upper teeth, cushioning them and preventing direct tooth-to-tooth contact. This does not eliminate grinding, but it does stop bruxism from damaging the teeth.

  • Orthodontic treatment – Issues with the bite and teeth alignment are often thought to worsen grinding. If your dentist thinks that this is a contributing factor, they may suggest orthodontic treatment to protect your child’s oral health. 

Worried About Your Child’s Teeth Grinding? See Dr. Skutak For Help

As a children’s dentist in Rothschild, Wausau, and Schofield, Dr. Skutak is here to help you get the care you need for your child. If you suspect that they are grinding their teeth, our team can discuss the situation with you, assess their condition, and recommend the proper treatment. Call today at (715) 355-4433 or contact Skutak Dental online to get the assistance you need.

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