bruxism children identification prevention

Bruxism in Children: Impact, Identification, Prevention

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the general risks of bruxism, or the grinding of the teeth, in children. While this condition is more common in adults than in children, it may still happen to many kids, and can be particularly damaging to developing mouths.

Bruxism is one condition that really crystallizes the value of regular dental checkups, which we’re proud to offer at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry along with numerous other pediatric dental services like cleaning, X-rays, kids fluoride treatments and more. A quality pediatric dentist like ours will be able to spot the early signs of bruxism and the way it impacts the teeth, allowing for basic treatment and prevention methods. Today’s part two of our series will go over the long-term risks of bruxism if it isn’t treated, plus some basics on how to detect bruxism symptoms and how to prevent them from taking place.

Long-Term Impact

If bruxism is not properly addressed, it can have significant long-term effects on children. Not only will enamel on the teeth wear down and leave the teeth unprotected, teeth themselves will be much more likely to flatten out over time, plus to chip or fracture more easily.

In addition, children with long-term cases of bruxism are at higher risk of developing temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. This is a common condition that makes it very hard to open the jaw and chew, and anyone who’s dealt with it in the past can tell you that you should do everything you can to prevent these risks in your child.

Determining Bruxism Presence

Kids tend not to realize that they grind their teeth, an understandable reality given that this often happens while they sleep at night. One of the simplest ways to diagnose it is to listen to them while they sleep – do they make grinding noises with their teeth?

However, as we noted earlier, the best way to identify bruxism symptoms is to maintain a regular dental checkup schedule. Teeth that are being grinded together regularly will show wear-down signs that your dentist will notice in your child’s mouth, and this will allow for proper treatment and prevention.

Preventing Bruxism

If bruxism has been identified in your child, particularly consistent bruxism that is grinding down the teeth and damaging them, a few steps may be taken. If it’s determined that most or all of the grinding takes place at night, the most likely prevention method will be a mouthguard outfitted by the child’s dentist to fit their mouth, one they wear at night to prevent grinding.

In addition, other tools may be used for kids who have other grinding issues. These may include anti-anxiety medications or therapy for children who grind the teeth due to stress or anxiety; they may also include a battery-powered toothbrush for your child if the cause of some tooth wear-down is actually brushing too aggressively.

For more on limiting bruxism and teeth grinding issues in your child, or to learn about any of our child dental care services, speak to the staff at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry today.