Bruxism and Kids
Oregon City, OR
Bruxism is a condition in which a person clenches or grinds their teeth, most often unconsciously. In adults, bruxism is often associated with stress. In children, studies indicate the reasoning to not be stress related but more often due to their teeth alignment or as a symptom of facial pain or discomfort. At Great Grins for KIDS - Oregon City, we will review your child’s teeth, alignment, and bone structure to eliminate possibilities and diagnose the cause. Catching symptoms of bruxism quickly can save your child considerable pain, time in the dental chair, and expense.
Teeth Grinding and Clenching
Grinding or clenching your jaw can cause significant and often painful problems. This can include stress to your jaw hinge, facial tightness that can be felt in the ear, brow, or cheek, and tooth fracture or breakage.
Grinding your teeth means that the person is moving their upper and lower jaw in a circular or back and forth motion rubbing their jaw together. This motion wears down the enamel, much like sand paper would, smoothing the surfaces of the teeth. This may not sound as bad as the results are. Removing layers of enamel can expose the dentin layer beneath which can be quite painful. It also removes the pointed edges of our enamel that are designed to help us chew and break down teeth. Grinding can cause fractures or open areas inside our teeth that allow bacteria to enter our teeth and reach the pulp. The results can be both painful and expensive.
Clenching your teeth means that the person is firmly closing their jaw with added force. This force causes tension to the jawbone and especially to the hinge that allows us to open and close our jaw. This tension can cause havoc on our facial muscles and we may feel it in our ears, our brow, other facial muscles, or even experience headaches and migraines. We want to help the patient relax these muscles and reduce tension.
What can be done?
When experiencing symptoms of bruxism, we want to take two steps, looking at both immediate relief and then seeking long term solutions.
|Immediate Help: We want to help the child stop the problems associated with bruxism with immediate help. This can be done by wearing a silicone retainer-like device over their teeth while they sleep. This small inconvenience can significantly reduce the problems that come with bruxism and offer their muscles some relief by placing a silicone layer between their teeth.
|Long Term Solutions: Once we have provided immediate relief, then we want to take a deeper look at the solution. Most often, children experience bruxism due to alignment issues or as an indicator of pain somewhere else. We need to investigate the problem and eliminate the causes. We may need to discuss orthodontic appliances and care to help.
As we work toward a solution, you may notice that your child has improved sleep, less pain, and overall increased happiness. If you think you spot the signs of bruxism, ask our team for more information, we can help.