Posts for tag: Special Needs
There’s nothing sweeter than a sleeping child. The peaceful look of contentment, the gentle breathing, a small smile as they enjoy a happy dream – it all seems perfect. Until you hear it. A loud grinding and gnashing noise that comes from their small mouth? What is that? And is it as bad as it sounds?
Bruxism- What Is It?
Bruxism is the medical term from grinding, gnashing or clenching your teeth. For children, it’s more common for these behaviors to be displayed during sleep, rather than while they are awake. Sleep Bruxism is actually considered a sleep-related movement disorder. The disorder is also called nocturnal bruxism, nocturnal tooth-grinding and nocturnal tooth-clenching.
While bruxism in children is fairly common, the exact cause of sleep bruxism is unknown. It has been linked to improperly aligned teeth or irregular contact between upper and lower teeth, stress, anxiety, a response to pain, such as an earache or teething and other medical conditions.
Because most children display these behaviors only when sleeping, it’s nearly impossible for them to know that they do it. You will need to observe your child while he or she sleeps. Symptoms that your child is suffering from sleep bruxism include:
- Abnormal wear of the teeth
- Sounds associated with bruxism (Think loud chomping and grinding noises in their mouth!)
- Jaw muscle discomfort
- Complaining of headaches
- Tooth sensitivity
Impact of Bruxism on Child’s Health:
Most children will outgrow bruxism, and sometimes, it may go totally undetected. However, even if they don’t complain of jaw pain or other symptoms, bruxism can still have negative effects on your child’s teeth and general health. The grinding and gnashing can cause headaches and earaches. Over time, it can also wear down the tooth enamel, chip teeth and cause temperature sensitivity. Children that exhibit more severe bruxism may even have TMJ problems.
What Can You Do?
While there may not be a lot you can do to stop your child from clenching or grinding in their sleep, there are ways you can help lessen the frequency and intensity of incidences. If stress or anxiety is the cause of the bruxism, encourage your child to relax before bedtime with warm baths, soothing music, relaxing books and stories. Try to identify the areas causing stress and anxiety and help your child through it.
If you think your child is grinding his or her teeth, schedule a visit with your pediatric dentist, who will examine the teeth for chipped enamel and unusual wear and tear. They may spray air and water on the teeth to check for unusual sensitivity. In severe cases, your pediatric dentist may recommend a nighttime mouth guard for your child to wear while he or she sleeps. Since most children won’t be excited to keep this in their mouth, it’s not likely that your pediatric dentist would recommend this for very young children. For young children, relieving stress and anxiety, encouraging relaxation at bedtime and monitoring damage are the best options. Eliminating afternoon caffeine and turning electronics off two hours before bedtime may also help them sleep better.
If you are looking for a dental home for your child, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry would love to be your trusted partner in your child’s oral health. Call us today at 864-760-1440. Let us give you Something to Smile About!
What is pediatric dentistry and how is it different from general dentistry?
The short answer is that pediatric dentistry is a specialized practice of dentistry that is focused on meeting the needs of children, while also providing an educational resource for parents and caregivers. Often, pediatric dentists will also see patients with special needs. Pediatric dentists graduate from dental school and then go on to complete a 2-3 year residency program, where they learn advanced techniques for treating issues related to the dental development and oral health of children. During their residency, pediatric dentists receive additional training in behavior management, child development and child psychology, anesthesia, common oral trauma in children, sedation, orthodontics, oral medicine and infant oral health.
While all dentists are educated in oral health, pediatric dentists focus on ways to better serve children and their parents, as this is their specialty. At Anderson Pediatric Dentistry, our scheduling system allows for more time to console a nervous child and more time to explain procedures and educate parents and caregivers. Our kid-friendly dentists and staff are focused on children, trained and prepared for all types of behavior. In addition, our dental office caters to children and their comfort. By providing a bright and cheerful office and waiting room with kid-friendly activities, a pleasant environment and lots of compassion and smiles, our goal is more than great dentistry- it’s about providing a great experience and positive feelings about dental visits.
Pediatric dentistry aims to provide excellent dental care, both preventative and restorative, to children. The goal should always be to instill lifelong healthy dental habits that will carry our patients into adulthood and provide a beautiful, healthy smile for life.
We invite you to make Anderson Pediatric Dentistry your child’s dental home and look forward to giving both you and your child, Something to Smile About!