sleeping child with animalDo you ever poke your head in your child’s room to check on your little one during the night? If you do, you may have noticed the development of a disturbing habit because 38 percent of children grind their teeth during the night. If you’ve witnessed this habit, the sight of the jaw sliding back and forth and the saw-like noises that result from these actions may have filled you with concern about your child’s teeth. But what would you say knowing that most teeth grinding (bruxism) in children does not require treatment? Your Brighton dentist, Dr. Thomas Villani, explains why below.

Bruxism in Children

About four out of every ten children develop a habit of grinding their teeth between the ages of three and six. Astonishingly, the habit tends to die off around age six before teeth are in any significant danger. Thus most children do not receive treatment for bruxism because the force generated is not a significant threat to their teeth or jaws.

When to Seek Care for Bruxism

In most cases, bruxism does not require treatment at a young age. However, it is still a good idea to know when to seek dental care for bruxism. In adults and younger teens, bruxism can damage teeth, resulting in cracks, chips, or breaks, and it can also cause a disorder in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull. Thus any persistent sensitivity in teeth or soreness in the jaw shouldn’t be neglected at any age. If you notice any of these symptoms or if your child’s teeth grinding habit continues well past the age of six, contact your Brighton children’s dentist, Dr. Villani.

Treatment for Bruxism

In cases in which bruxism is a threat to teeth and the jaw, an oral appliance called a sleep guard can be worn to protect teeth from damage. Wearing a sleep guard can preserve teeth and lessen the stress placed on the jaw.

Schedule a Visit with Your Brighton Children’s Dentist

When was the last time your child attended a dental visit? If more than six months have passed, it’s time for a checkup. Contact your Brighton children’s dentist, Dr. Villani, today by calling Brighton Family Dental Group at (617) 562-5210. We proudly serve patients from Watertown, Cambridge, Brookline, Newton, Brighton, and the 02135 area.