It is common for children to grind their teeth while sleeping (formally termed Nocturnal Bruxism). Bruxism among children is not only upsetting for their parents and other family members but can also lead to severe wear to the biting surfaces of the young persons' teeth.
Furthermore, Bruxism can be detrimental to a patient's overall health while also a signal for much more serious physical and emotional health issues. Dr. Vita has a virtual partner relationship with medical doctors and fellow dentists who refer patients to our practice and the Vita Head Neck & Facial Pain Relief Center. When they recognize Bruxism among their patients, they can readily refer patients to us for knowledgeable and caring treatment supported by the most modern technologies.
There are several reasons why children may grind their teeth while sleeping... and even when awake during the day. When you become aware that your child is grinding their teeth, the first determination to be made is whether there is a TMJ or upper cervical spine (neck) dysfunction. Other considerations include when there is a mix of both deciduous teeth and permanent teeth as the new teeth emerge, the child senses the imbalance and the parafunction develops in an automatic attempt to redistribute the bite forces evenly.
Additionally, when there is a central nervous system hyperactivity whereby the brain signals the muscles to twitch. There are many causes that can trigger this CNS response. Most are not serious or life - threatening or even require treatment.
In children, common triggers include sinus, allergy and breathing difficulties along with gastrointestinal disturbances. Some parents may think that the grinding of teeth is a minor occurrence, while others may become overly alarmed. Thus, it is appropriate for practitioners to take the initiative and inform parents about the cause and effects of Bruxism among children. Should a case of Bruxism be determined, dentists and medical doctors, working together with the Vita team, develop and follow through on a course of treatment.