This is one of the most common we questions we get at Growing Smiles in Floral Vale. Tooth-grinding or bruxism is defined as “the habitual nonfunctional forceful contact between occlusal (biting surface) tooth surfaces than can occur while awake or asleep.” According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry a study of over 800 patients under the age of 17 found that 38% of children grind their teeth.
There are several reasons why children grind or clench their jaws during sleep. Typically it is a benign behavior that can occur due to the upper and lower jaws not aligning correctly or in response to a emotional stress, such as an upcoming test. Children typically grow out of this problem by age ten without causing any permanent damage to their teeth.
When to become concerned:
If grinding is accompanied by snoring, bed wetting, or poor performance in school your child maybe suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. At this point we would recommend you speaking to your pediatrician or an otolaryngologist if we suspect sleep apnea is an underlying cause of your child’s grinding.
If grinding persists into their permanent dentition, we may recommend treatment in the form of a custom-made night-guard to wear at night.
The majority of children eventually will grow out of this habit. If it concerning to you, please don’t hesitate and call us to schedule an appointment. We can conduct an examination, offer a diagnosis and recommend treatment if necessary.