When you grind, gnash or clench your teeth, it is a condition known as Bruxism. You may unconsciously clench your teeth when you’re awake (awake bruxism) or clench or grind them during sleep (sleep bruxism), if you have bruxism. Considered a sleep-related movement disorder, people who suffer from Bruxism during sleep are more likely to have other sleep disorders, like snoring and sleep apnea. Today, we at Smile Reef would like to further elaborate on the subject. Mild cases of bruxism cases may not require treatment. However, extreme cases of bruxism can lead to headaches, jaw disorders, damaged teeth and other problems. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of bruxism and to seek regular dental care since you may have sleep bruxism and be unaware of it until complications develop.

Symptoms of Teeth Grinding

Symptoms of bruxism are as follows:
– Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth
– Tired or tight jaw muscles, or a locked jaw that won’t open or close completely
– Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped or loose
– Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to wake up your sleep partner
– Sleep disruption
– Pain that feels like an earache, though it’s actually not a problem with your ear
– Jaw, neck or face pain or soreness
– Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
– Dull headache starting in the temples
– Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek

When Do You Need to See a Pediatric Dentist?

If your child has any of the symptoms listed above or have other concerns about their teeth or jaw, schedule an appointment your child’s dentist. Be sure to mention it at your child’s next dental appointment, if you notice that your child is grinding his or her teeth or has other signs or symptoms of bruxism.

Causes of Bruxism in Children

Doctors don’t completely understand what causes bruxism but believe it is due to a combination of physical, psychological and genetic factors.
1) Awake bruxism – Likely the result of emotions such as anxiety, stress, anger, frustration or tension as well as possibly coping strategy or a habit during deep concentration.
2) Sleep bruxism – Associated with arousals during sleep, this can be due to a sleep-related chewing activity.

Risk Factors for Teeth Grinding

The risk of bruxism includes the following:
– Stress. Teeth grinding can derive from increased anxiety or stress can lead to as well as anger and frustration.
– Age. Bruxism is common in young children, but they usually grow out of it by adulthood.
– Personality type. An increased risk of bruxism is having a personality type that’s aggressive, competitive or hyperactive.
– Medications / other substances. Certain antidepressants, or other some psychiatric medications can uncommonly cause bruxism as a side effect.
– Hereditary. Sleep bruxism tends to occur in families.
– Other disorders. Some mental health and medical disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), epilepsy, night terrors, sleep-related disorders such as sleep apnea, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be associated Bruxism.

Pediatric Dentistry

Bruxism doesn’t cause serious complications, however some severe bruxism can cause damage to your teeth, restorations, crowns or jaw; tension-type headaches; severe facial or jaw pain; disorders that occur in the temporomandibular joints (TMJs). If you have concerns with your child’s teeth grinding in the Las Vegas Valley, call Smile Reef and make an appointment with our office today.