Two children sleep as they grind their teeth

Why Does My Child Grind Their Teeth When Sleeping?

November 30, 2021 5:51 am

Have you noticed that your child is grinding their teeth while they sleep? Or maybe they grind their teeth when they’re concentrating really hard? Here’s what you need to know about teeth grinding (bruxism) and when it becomes a concern that needs to be addressed at the dentist.

Permanent Tooth Eruption

When permanent teeth start erupting, some kids will grind their teeth. This is a common response among kids as they navigate the feeling of their new adult-sized teeth. Kids may also grind their teeth when their permanent teeth come in because their teeth are sore, sensitive, or misaligned. If your child is just getting their permanent teeth in, monitor them closely. Kids may stop grinding their teeth once their new teeth fully erupt.

Conditions Connected to Bruxism

If your child already has permanent teeth and they are still experiencing bruxism, there may be an underlying issue at play. Grinding may be a response to stress or anxiety, improper tooth alignment, jaw discomfort, or something else. If your child continuously grinds their teeth when they are sleeping, we recommend scheduling a dental consultation right away. The sooner they get treatment, the less likely permanent damage is made to their smile.

What Happens If Teeth Grinding Is Left Untreated?

If you don’t treat your child’s bruxism, it can have a negative impact on their smile, such as:

  • Bone degradation
  • Broken, cracked teeth
  • Chronic headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Jaw pain (temporomandibular joint disorder)
  • Worn-down chewing surface on molars

Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliance therapy can help alleviate teeth grinding and minimize damage. Oral appliance therapy utilizes thick, retainer-like trays. Kids can wear the trays while they sleep to help reposition their jaw and pad their teeth to prevent injury when grinding. If the grinding is stress-induced, your child’s dentist may recommend scheduling a consultation with your child’s primary care provider to create an action plan for getting their stress under control.

Schedule Your Child’s Bruxism Consultation!

Is your child grinding their teeth? Schedule an exam and consultation today! At Tots to Teens Pediatric Dentistry in San Antonio, TX, we’re dedicated to creating personalized treatment plans to help every patient achieve optimal oral health. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment for your child!


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