Teeth grinding, or bruxism, refers to excessive grinding of the teeth and/or excessive clenching of the jaw, and is common in children. The first indication is the noise created by your child grinding on his or her teeth during sleep. Or, you may notice wear (teeth getting shorter) to your child’s dentition.
Although teeth grinding is often the result of stress in adults, the same is not always true with children. If your child’s teeth grinding is not the result of stress, other possible causes include irritation in the mouth, inner ear pressure, allergies, and misaligned teeth.
The good news is that, because your child’s teeth and jaws change and grow so quickly, teeth grinding is not usually a damaging habit that requires treatment, and most outgrow it by adolescence. However, if excessive wearing of the teeth persists, we may recommend wearing a nightguard.
If you’re concerned about your child’s teeth grinding, ask us about the potential causes and, if necessary, the possible solutions.
TMD stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, which is a condition where patients experience issues with pain the jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles. TMD can be very uncomfortable and easily disrupt a person’s daily life by preventing proper speaking and eating.
If you experience any of these symptoms, please let Drs. Oleg and Nikole Shvartsur know during your next appointment at our Issaquah dental office:
- Pain in the jaw area
- Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth
- Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
- Frequent headaches or neck aches
- Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
- Swelling on the sides of the face
- Muscle spasms in the jaw area
- A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
Most patients we see at our Issaquah dental office suffer from mild TMD that can be improved by some home therapy. When you first come to our office, we’ll assess the problem and then review the best home care techniques and exercises. One of the biggest things to remember is to relax your face — remember the rule: “Lips together, teeth apart.” If you find that you grind or clench your teeth, we may suggest the use of a mouthguard to ease TMD discomfort.
In some cases where the TMD is more severe, injections or potential surgery may be required, which we discuss with you at the time of diagnosis and can refer you to the proper specialists for advanced care.
We always encourage patients to visit our Issaquah dental office a minimum of twice annually. This not only ensures you stay on top of your oral health, but will give us a better understanding of your history so we can put together a more appropriate and personalized treatment plan if a problem should arise