Have you heard your child clench, gnash, or grind his teeth—the harsh sound of hard tooth enamel hitting against itself—on occasion? This condition is known as bruxism. Experts say that two to three kids in ten will grind their teeth, although most outgrow it. The bad news is, the stresses of modern life are taking its toll on today’s children, leading to an increasing number of bruxism cases in adolescents.
If your child has a big school exam or project coming up, or if he is about to encounter a significant change in his life, teeth grinding may ensue. Moving to a new school or conflicts with parents, friends, or siblings are some of the most common causes of bruxism in children today. Below is a report from Canadian newspaper National Post detailing the observations of some dentists about this growing concern:
Dental surgeon Dr. Nigel Carter, head of the British Dental Health Foundation, explains: “There’s no doubt that teeth-grinding is an increasing problem — and a feature of the stress brought on by modern lifestyles.
Dr. Shivani Patel, a specialist at Elleven Orthodontics in London, says: “Some young children grind away their milk teeth at night time, but the habit goes away naturally.
“Of more concern are the children who are grinding down their new adult teeth. I am seeing patients aged 12 or 13 who are stressed by exams and begin grinding as a result. Once you grind down to the dentine level, damage is irreparable, and you become very sensitive to heat and cold, too.”
In most cases, bruxism is a short-term issue that has no lasting side effects. If the condition persists, however, your child may start to feel headaches, earaches, jaw aches, sleep disruption, swollen gums, and damage to his teeth. If you notice your child grinds his teeth for an extensive time period, talk to a pediatric dentist in Greenville, SC immediately.
In severe cases when bruxism has damaged a child’s teeth or made the jaw sore, the finest dentists in Greenville, SC—like Dr. Trey Kenna and his team at Downtown Dental—may prescribe a special mouth guard that’s specifically molded to a child’s teeth. If necessary, the dentist may recommend taking the child to a child psychiatrist to address his emotional distress.
(Source: The facts of friction: Teeth-grinding a symptom of stressful modern life, dental surgeons say, National Post, Apr. 7, 2014)