Does your child often wake up with jaw pain or soreness? Are their teeth becoming flattened, chipped, or even fractured? Is your child complaining about frequent headaches?
All of these could be signs of bruxism, a condition that causes you to grind and clench your teeth during sleep. Because the teeth and jaw continue to move as your child sleeps, the muscles become worn out, which can cause pain. This movement also causes damage to their teeth.
In children, bruxism may develop due to misaligned teeth or due to stress. Sometimes, bruxism develops without a known cause.
Left untreated, bruxism can damage your child’s jaw and can even lead to tooth loss.
Below, we asked our experts at iSmiles Kids Dentistry and Orthodontics in Corona, California, to explain how you can help your child reduce the damage from bruxism by having them wear night guards.
Night guards are custom-made pieces of plastic that resemble a retainer and are worn to cover the biting surfaces for the purpose of preventing teeth from grinding against each other.
Night guards made for bruxism differ from sports mouth guards. When you wear a sports mouth guard, your saliva can no longer get to the surface of your teeth, which raises your risk for cavities.
Night guards often either come with tiny holes or are designed in a way that allows saliva to access the teeth. Saliva neutralizes the acids that are produced as a consequence of bacteria feeding on the carbohydrates in your food. These acids damage tooth enamel and cause tooth decay.
Over-the-counter night guards are inexpensive but tend to present a set of challenges. They often don’t fit well, which can cause your child to experience mouth discomfort, and they usually don’t last very long.
Custom night guards are made with the impression of your child’s teeth. This ensures that they won’t cause much discomfort and that your child will be more likely to wear them at night.
In most cases, bruxism in children goes away on its own, typically when the child becomes a teenager.
However, in the meantime, clenching and grinding during sleep can cause a lot of dental, muscle, and joint damage. Contact us to schedule an appointment. We can help you find out what solutions are available for your child’s bruxism and whether custom night guards could be of help.