Nighttime Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

   Parents are often concerned about nocturnal grinding of their child’s teeth (bruxism). Often, the first indication is the noise created by the child during sleep time. Or, the parent may notice physical wear on the teeth as teeth get shorter. One theory on the cause involves a psychological component. Stress from a new environment or changes at school can prompt children to grind their teeth. Another theory relates to pressure in the inner ear at night. Other theories include a normal nocturnal behavioral pattern of children during the growth and development of their teeth and jaws. Most cases of pediatric bruxism do not require any treatment. If excessive wear of the teeth is present, then a mouth guard (night guard) or tooth capping may be indicated. Please ask your pediatric dentist which treatment is right for your child. The good news is that most children outgrow bruxism. There is usually less grinding between ages 6 - 9 years and children tend to stop grinding between ages 9-12 years.