Can a Child Wear a Dental Night Guard?
Bruxism, or teeth-grinding, can be a serious dental concern if this clenching and gnashing erodes your strong but finite tooth enamel. Bruxism in children, believe it or not, is rather common. Here’s what you need to know about bruxism and what you can do for your child.
Causes of Bruxism
Two to three out of 10 children have bruxism, states the Nemours Foundation, but most will eventually outgrow it. It isn’t clear what exactly causes bruxism, although misaligned teeth is one likely suspect. Often kids will grind their teeth if they’re in pain, whereas other children may do it as a way to relieve anxiety or stress. Teeth-clenching and grinding can also come from hyperactivity, cerebral palsy or even a reaction to common medications.
Bruxism primarily causes headaches, earaches, facial pain and jaw problems, but watch your kids to keep them from chipping teeth or wearing down their tooth enamel. It’s vital to know whether your child has the condition, even if they still have their primary teeth.
Finding Out If They Have It
Determining if your child has bruxism can be tricky, because the child often doesn’t realize he or she is grinding at all. Check in on them at night to discover whether they make grinding noises while asleep, or ask a sibling who shares the room with them. If your child complains of a sore jaw, or pain when chewing, these can also signal bruxism.
Is he particularly worried or angry about anything? If these emotions coincide with the sound of teeth-grinding while they sleep, it’s time to pay attention. Kids experience a lot of anxiety in general, and you may need to address the root cause through other medical treatment or stress-relieving interventions, like a warm bath or soothing music before bedtime.
Bruxism in children as a result of stress can be prevented by taking special care to help yours deal with it appropriately. The good news is most kids eventually grow out of the tendency, but it doesn’t hurt to make that dentist appointment to first diagnose the problem, allowing you to then treat it the best way you can.
Can a Child Wear a Dental Night Guard?
The short answer: Ask your dentist. Recommended use for children varies greatly.
As parents we deal with miniature crisis’ all the time–scraped knees, growing pains, hunger pains, sick days and everything in between. These common issues have aided us in becoming pretty proficient in what to do when unexpected situations arise, but when faced with child teeth grinding, there seems to be a lack of clarity, understanding and call to action.
Here we attempt to answer the most common questions regarding teeth grinding or jaw clenching in children under 12.
Is there perhaps another reason my child is grinding (or clenching) his/her teeth?
One of the more common possibilities that are being explored has to deal with the growth phases of a child’s teeth and jaw. During the nascent stages of development, a child’s top and bottom set of teeth do not fit together comfortably. The instinctive response that some children have because of this fact is to grind their teeth to provide a respite from the discomfort that they may be experiencing. Some children tend to outgrow the habit of teeth grinding. Other children may develop an attachment to the habit and carry it well into adulthood.
Ok. So how do I stop his/her teeth grinding?
You should know that there is no known cure for teeth grinding. Many children will outgrow the habit by age 12. Your first step is to schedule an appointment with your dentist. The dentist may suggest your child wear a custom night guard. There seems to be a lot of contradictory information as far as what age is acceptable for a child to wear a night guard to bed. Ask your dentist to see what he/she recommends.
Is there a choking risk?
There does not appear to be any choking risk from wearing a dental night guard. Here are some comments by real dentists that attempt to answer this very question.
While a dental night guard may seem like an ideal solution for your child’s teeth grinding problems, there are still a few caveats that you must take into account. Some children may not feel comfortable using a mouthguard at night. The sense of discomfort that they experience could interfere with their sleeping patterns. Even if your child doesn’t have any issues with using a dental night guard, there are still a few things that you need to watch out for.
Once you spot that the form of the dental night guard has become irregular, stop using the device and acquire a replacement as soon as possible. Some children may experience oral irritation because of frequent utilization of a dental night guard. Before you have your child use the device in question, make sure that you get to check his / her gums for any mouth sores or other oral lesions. Given the nature of appliance, dental night guards tend to accumulate a considerable amount of bacteria over a period of time. You must be rigorous when it comes to sanitizing the dental night guard that your child uses on a daily basis.
Over the course of using the night guard, make sure that you get to schedule regular oral exams with your child’s dentist in order to assess the progress that has been made or whether adjustments need to be executed.
It is essential for you to acquire a dental night guard from a reputable dentist. There are a variety of mouth guards that are available on the market and you may be tempted to acquire one but you run the risk of compromising your child’s safety. While going to a dentist may require you to keep up with a specific amount of cost, you can guarantee that your child will be able to use a well fitted dental night guard that addresses all of his / her needs and preferences. Come see us for a consultation and we can help stop night bruxism for your child!