Bruxism / Tooth Grinding / Jaw Clenching / Teeth Clenching / Parasomnia
Frequently Asked Questions
You should consult a Dentist. The dentist examines your mouth and jaw for signs of bruxism, such as jaw tenderness and abnormalities in your teeth.
2. How do we find out if we have Bruxism?
Bruxism often happens during sleep, so most people are unaware that they grind their teeth. However, a dull, constant headache or sore jaws are symptoms of bruxism. Many people get to know from their bed partners that they grind their teeth in the night.
3. My son is ten and he occasionally grinds his teeth at night, when will he outgrow this habit?
The good news is most children outgrow bruxism. The grinding gets less between the ages 6-9 and children tend to stop grinding between ages 9-12.
4. Why does he grind his teeth, his sister does not seem to suffer from a similar problem?
Children react differently to certain situations. One theory as to the cause involves a psychological component. Stress due to a new environment, divorce, changes at school; etc. can influence a child to grind their teeth. Another theory relates to pressure in the inner ear at night. If there are pressure changes (like in an airplane during take-off and landing when people are chewing gum, etc. to equalize pressure) the child will grind by moving his jaw to relieve this pressure.
5. Does my son need therapy?
You will have to consult a dentist who will assess the extent of damage to the teeth. The majority of cases of pediatric bruxism do not require any treatment. If excessive wear of the teeth is present, then a mouth guard may be indicated. The negatives to a mouth guard are the possibility of choking if the appliance becomes dislodged during sleep and it may interfere with growth of the jaws. The positive is obvious by preventing wear to the primary dentition.