Does your child grind their teeth at night when they sleep? Don’t fret. As much as you would rather hear the sound of sweet dreams coming from your child, teeth grinding in children is relatively common.

Understanding Teeth Grinding in Children

What Is Teeth Grinding?

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a sleep-related movement disorder when someone (in this case, a child) grinds or clenches their teeth. Many children have bruxism, and fortunately, most outgrow it.

Causes of Teeth Grinding in Children

According to pediatric dental specialists, there are a few possible reasons why children grind their teeth:

  • Misaligned Teeth – A child may grind their teeth because their top and bottom teeth are misaligned. This can cause a child to press against their bite.
  • Response to Pain – Bruxism may occur in response to pain. For example, if a child is uncomfortable because they’re teething or have an earache, they may grind their teeth to ease the pain.
  • Stress – There are many things children are afraid of and get anxious about whether adults realize it or not. A common response to stress in children is teeth grinding. Attending a new school, a change in routine, and the dark are just a few stress-related examples when children might grind their teeth to relax.
  • Personality or Disorders – It’s not uncommon for kids who are hyperactive to have bruxism. Nor is it uncommon for a child to have a mental health or medical disorder, such as sleep apnea, ADHD, or epilepsy to have bruxism either.

Signs and Symptoms

Majority of the time, when a child grinds their teeth, they aren’t even aware of it. It is often the parent, a sibling, or a pediatric dentist who is the identifier. However, this can be difficult to spot if the child grinds their teeth specifically at night when they sleep. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Flattened, fractured, or chipped teeth
  • Complaints of tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Face pain or soreness
  • Locked or sore jaw
  • Pain when chewing
  • Trouble sleeping

Treatments for Teeth Grinding

Many kids grow out of bruxism, but not all are lucky. Fortunately, pediatric dental specialists have found an effective remedy to help children who grind their teeth. The most common treatment is to have the child wear a custom mouthguard when they sleep. This kind of mouthguard is very similar to mouthpieces worn by athletes. It tends to take some time getting used to, but positive results do follow when worn.

Shoal Creek Smiles – Pediatric Dentist in Kansas City

If you notice that your child grinds their teeth, it’s important to keep an eye on it and look out for any of the symptoms and signs listed above. However, we recommend taking your child to see the pediatric dental specialists in Kansas City, MO at Shoal Creek Smiles for a professional opinion. We can take a look at your child’s teeth and let you know the best form of treatment. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!