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Does Your Child Grind Their Teeth and Can Bruxism Cause a TMJ Disorder?

MANY PARENTS HAVE heard their children (loudly) grinding their teeth while they sleep at night, or even during waking hours. They describe this noise as “rocks banging together and grinding”.  It can be an awful sound many say worse than fingernails on a chalkboard bad.   You may worry about the health of your child’s teeth or what their tooth grinding habit means and what has caused it. This is a question we hear at McOmie Family Dentistry almost daily. We hope this blog post answers your questions!

Why Does Teeth Grinding Occur?

Most commonly, bruxism–or teeth grinding–occurs at night. The causes of bruxism are not entirely understood and every child is different. Teeth grinding can occur due to teething in infants, or even when children get their permanent teeth. Others may do it in response to pain, frustration, or stress. Some may grind or clench due to improperly aligned teeth. Certain medical conditions, as well as genetics, may also make people more prone to brux. Dr. Mark McOmie says he sees this in about half of our pediatric patients. So it is very common.

Is Bruxism Worrisome?

Bruxism is fairly common among children. In fact, between twenty and thirty percent of children grind or clench their teeth at one point during their childhood. The good news is, most outgrow it and do not incur any lasting damage to their teeth during the teeth grinding phase.

If you suspect your child is grinding their teeth, it’s important to bring them in and let Dr. Mark McOmie take to evaluate them. Some symptoms of bruxism include:

  • Grinding noises while your child is asleep
  • Pain when chewing
  • Unusual tooth sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Sore jaw or face, especially in the morning upon waking

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms or you suspect that they grind or clench their teeth frequently, pay a visit to McOmie Family Dentistry and let Dr. Mark McOmie take a look at them. Fortunately, most cases of bruxism in children do not require treatment, as it usually goes away over time. However, depending on the cause of your child’s bruxism, your dentist may recommend various treatment options. For example, if your child grinds their teeth in response to stress, perhaps a more calming bedtime routine would help.

During your visit, your dentist will examine your child’s teeth for tooth enamel wear and damage. If there is damage, or your child grinds their teeth very frequently, your dentist may recommend a custom-made nightguard to protect teeth and hopefully prevent grinding.

TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) problems are very rare in school-age children. If you are an adult with grinding problems you can learn more here https://mcomiedentistry.com/restorative-dentistry/tmj-tmd/. This post is mainly talking about children grinding their teeth. Adults are different entirely and need to be seen right away so we can create a custom program for your TMJ/TMD problems.

We’re Here To Help

Whatever the reason for your child’s teeth grinding habit, we would love to help! Have any more questions or concerns about bruxism? Come in to see us today! We are on the corner of Shallowford Rd and Hwy 153, our address is 5999 Shallowford Rd. Chattanooga, TN 37421.

Give us a call at 423-899-1112

Our patients rock!

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