Willow Pediatric Dentistry of Tecumseh

What causes teeth grinding (bruxism) during sleep?

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a fairly common pediatric dental problem.

During sleep, there of three types of bruxism that exist; clenching, grinding and a combination of the two. The most common type is grinding. Possible causes of teeth grinding at night include, but are not limited to:

  • Stress or anxiety due to a change in the environment (divorce, a recent death in the family or change in school, etc)
  • Misaligned or crowded teeth that can cause interference between the upper and lower teeth
  • Sleeping issues including heavy snoring or even sleep apnea
  • Internal conditions such as systemic earache pain or other discomfort

Children are not usually aware that they clench and grind their teeth while sleeping. Some do not even notice if they are daytime grinders. Some of the most common signs of teeth grinding are:

  • Visibly worn teeth
  • Earache
  • Headache
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Jaw tenderness

In most cases, there is no treatment required. Teeth grinding decreases between the ages of 6 and 9. Most children stop grinding their teeth between the ages of 9 and 12. If you are concerned your child is grinding their teeth, please contact our office to schedule an evaluation. If excessive teeth grinding is found, a nightguard may be recommended or a consultation for an airway evaluation.

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