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Awake & Nocturnal Sleep Bruxism; Causes, Symptoms & Treatment for Teeth Grinding & Clenching in Children

Smile Reef

Though they still lack much self-awareness over their own habits, kids may be hyper-aware of how other people behave. Even adults struggle to notice when they start clenching their own jaw when it comes to teeth grinding. It is especially important for parents to make themselves aware of the signs, causes, and treatment since children are more likely to grind their teeth than adults. With this mind, we at Smile Reef would like to discuss teeth grinding.

Awake & Nocturnal Sleep Bruxism

For jaw clenching and grinding teeth, Bruxism is the medical term. At least once a week, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), 36% of preschoolers grind their teeth. If habits don’t change early up to 17% of all children regularly grind their teeth and one-third will carry the habit into adulthood overall. With stress, anxiety, or nervous habits, most people associate teeth clenching and grinding. This also might apply to children surprisingly. Especially in combination with withdrawn behavior while teeth grinding doesn’t seem to cause poor behavior in school, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) says it does share a relationship.

Symptoms of Teeth Clenching & Grinding

It isn’t easy to spot, as bruxism has quite a few symptoms that can be extremely subtle so it takes a well-trained eye to notice. Some children and adults may realize they’re grinding their teeth or clenching their jaw but keep doing it. Some of the symptoms are listed below.
– Trouble sleeping or fear of going to bed due to associating sleep with pain.
– While the child watches TV, reads, studies, or focuses on a task, subtle mouth movements from clenching.
– Especially in the morning, sore or stiff jaw.
– A stiff jaw causing difficulty chewing.
– During tense situations for the child mouth movements, from clenching.
– From tension, frequent headaches and earaches are produced.
– While sleeping, chattering or grinding sounds.

Causes of Teeth Grinding

With each case is unique, we aren’t sure exactly what causes bruxism. Due to misaligned teeth, some children may clench. To ease pain and release endorphins others may pick up the habit while teething. In response to anxiety or nervousness, like nail-biting or picking, kids may also develop the habit as a response. Some kids may also unconsciously grind their teeth while they sleep.

Bruxism Treatment

There can be long-term effects in teen patients like an increased risk for TMJ, jaw problems, migraines, tooth sensitivity, and worn enamel while in not every case is an emergency. A personalized treatment is required since each case of teeth grinding is different. The treatments include the following:
– To address underlying stress therapy or counseling.
– To protect tooth enamel, proactive and defensive sealants.
– For unconscious sleep grinders, nighttime mouth guards.
– To correct alignment issues, braces are used.

Pediatric Dentistry

Bruxism while awake suggests that the child is unknowingly picking up behaviors to manage daily stress, so talk therapy can help tremendously. Like adults, subconscious teeth clenching can be experienced by kids. In order to evaluate the child’s teeth and explore treatment options, a visit to the dentist is necessary, either way. Call Smile Reef and let us assist you.

How to Tell if Baby or Child is Tongue Tied; Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment of Tongue Tie (Ankyloglossia)

Smile Reef

If you have a child that is growing and developing you want to know that they are reaching the milestones that are set for their age. This might be sleeping well through the night, rolling over, walking and even saying their first word. Nothing is scarier than when you realize that there is a problem and that you need to have some intervention to ensure that your child is able to reach these milestones. There are many things that can be an interference in the progress of your child. One of the things that you might come across is issues with your child’s gums, teeth, mouth and oral health. One of the things that you might have to deal with is called ankyloglossia which means tongue tied. This is an issue that does occur in children that need to be addressed by a pediatric dentist. Smile Reef outlines what you need to know about dealing with tongue tie.

What is Tongue Tie?

The interesting thing about being tongue tied is that it is a small ligament that is attached to the underside of the tongue. Everyone has this attachment but it should be held in a specific place. When you are tongue tied your attachment has reached too far towards the front of the tongue and made it so that you cannot have proper tongue movement.

Tongue Tie Symptoms

There are several symptoms that you can look for to determine if your child is tongue tied. Early on you may realize that your child is not able to latch on for feeding and this can cause trouble with weight gain. As they start to get older they can continue to have trouble trying to eat food correctly. The other issue that is most commonly the reason that a parent will realize that their child has an issue is when they try to start to talk. This can be a problem and can cause the child not to be able to form words correctly. Lastly you may notice that the child is not having a properly developing mouth and jaw. These are all signs that your child might have a tongue tie problem. The best thing you can do is to take them to a pediatric dentist to have them checked.

Ankyloglossia Diagnosis

You want to talk with your pediatric dentist about what might be the problem. They have a series of tests that they can check to see what the issue might be. They will see if your child has proper range of motion from side to side and up and down. They also want to see if they are able to stick out their tongue. Once they determine that they have an issue they can start to layout a treatment plan.

Tongue Tie Surgery & Treatment

The great thing is that this condition often resolves itself. If not, it can be treated with surgery.

Pediatric Dentistry

Smile Reef can help to walk you through your child’s dental work. Call us today to make your appointment.