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!
In a world where everything is getting, smaller, quicker and more efficient, it makes sense that pediatric
dentistry is following. Anderson Pediatric Dentistry is proud to offer laser dentistry in our office with our state-of-the-art WaterLase Laser.
While most of our procedures are still done the traditional way, laser dentistry can offer our patients an alternative treatment plan.
WaterLase dentistry uses laser energy and a gentle spray of water, allowing us to perform a wide range of dental procedures without the heat, vibration and pressure of a dental drill. For many procedures we are able to use less anesthetic, meaning less shots for your child. Using the WaterLase laser for dental procedures is usually, faster and more comfortable for the child, so we may be able to do more extensive treatments in less appointments. The laser can also be more precise, allowing us to save more healthy parts of the tooth and gums.
So, what do we use the WaterLase laser for and when is it an option?
The WaterLase laser at Anderson Pediatric Dentistry can be used for many treatments, ranging from cavities to periodontal disease. It can treat areas on the gums, as well as the teeth.
But, perhaps its most exciting and beneficial use for our clients, is for tongue and lip-tie treatment. The WaterLase laser offers us a quick and precise treatment option to help infants and young children who are suffering from negative impacts due to a tight frenulum causing tongue and/or lip-tie.
If your infant or young child is suffering from tongue and or lip-tie, their pediatrician may recommend a procedure called a frenectomy, in which the tight connective tissue that is causing the problems, is cut. A frenectomy done using our WaterLase Laser, uses cool water to make the incision, causing virtually no bleeding or pain, no risk of infection and almost instantaneous healing for infants. It’s also quicker, which is always a benefit with babies and young children.
If your child has tongue-tie, lip-tie or both, a frenectomy may be the correct treatment plan to enable them to nurse and/or eat better, thus allowing them to thrive and grow. Give us a call today at 864-760-1440 so that we can schedule an appointment to discuss if our Waterlase laser is right for you. Let us ease the discomfort and help your child have Something to Smile About!
This month, our family will celebrate our youngest daughter turning two. It’s a bit ironic to celebrate a toddler turning two, as we all know that the terrible twos are anything but something to celebrate! But, along with the tantrums, defiance and unpredictability, two-year-olds also have some major milestones to look forward to. Getting their two-year-old molars is just one milestone that comes during this crazy year!
So, when will your child get his or her two-year-old molars? Do these teeth serve a purpose? And how can you care for your child during the teething and their new teeth once they arrive? Let’s find out!
The two-year-old molars are also referred to as second molars. They are the large, flat teeth at the very back of your child’s mouth. Their primary use is for grinding food. As your child grows and begins to eat more types of foods, these teeth are especially helpful for chewing and digestion.
Two-year molars usually arrive sometime between 23 and 33 months. Typically, the lower set will arrive fist, around 23 to 31 months, with the upper set following closely after around 25 to 33 months.
While I would love to tell you that they will arrive unnoticed, chances are, your child will experience some sort of teething symptoms, such as pain/ tenderness, irritability and crankiness. They may even have a low-grade fever. This is normal and to be expected, as these molars are large, and must force their way up through the gums, which is not always a pleasant experience.
Most two-year-olds are not able to identify the pain as “teething” and won’t be able to tell you what is wrong. You can help your child during this time by being aware of the symptoms and ready to help your child cope. Signs that your child is getting his or her second molars include:
- Increased chewing on toys, fingers or clothing
- Drooling more than normal
- Irritability and crankiness
- More nighttime fussiness, as they are less distracted and more focused on the pain
- Low grade rectal temperature
(Please note that teething will not cause a high fever. If your child experiences a high fever, you should seek medical attention, as this is not caused by teething.)
Just like when your child got his or her first tooth, there are ways to help alleviate the pain and fussiness. Once you recognize the symptoms of teething, help your child through a rough few days by using these simple soothers:
- Give the child a cold, wet wash cloth soaked in ice water
- Offer teething toys for chewing
- Distract your child with singing, coloring, building, dancing, etc.
- Administer children’s Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen to help reduce discomfort for 1 or 2 days.
(pain that lasts longer than a couple of days needs to be evaluated by your pediatrician.)
- Apply moisturizers to the skin around the mouth to prevent dryness caused by drooling.
Remember, teething only lasts a few days and your child will be back to his or her happy, active self. Once those two-year-old molars are in, be sure to take care of them with daily care!
If you have questions about your child’s oral development or you are looking for a dentist for your child, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry would love top be your dental home! Call our office at 864-760-1440 and let is give you Something to Smile About!
Did you know that what happens in your mouth effect other areas of our body and overall health? Its true. Your oral health and the condition of your teeth and gums can impact your entire health.
How is this possible? Great question. Just like studies are now proving that your gut bacteria affect your health, the mouth’s bacteria do too. Bacteria in your mouth? Oh, yeah- tons of them! Most of these bacteria are pretty harmless, as our body’s normal defenses, combined with good oral health care (daily brushing in flossing), keep them under control. However, if a person does not have good oral hygiene, the bacteria may be allowed to reach levels high enough to produce oral infections, tooth decay and gum disease.
How does tooth decay or gum disease impact your entire body? Studies suggest that oral bacteria, and the inflammation associated with periodontitis, might actually play a role in some diseases.
- Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart. It typically occurs with bacteria and other germs from another part of your body spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in the heart. You guessed it. Bacteria from your mouth can enter the bloodstream and go to your heart.
-Cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke are now believed to be linked to inflammation and infections that can be caused by oral bacteria.
-Poor oral health leading to periodontitis during pregnancy has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
The connection between oral health and your overall health goes both ways. Just as your oral health can cause problems for your overall health, health issues in your body can affect the health of your mouth.
Certain medications, such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics, antidepressants and some inhalers, can reduce saliva flow. Since saliva is your body’s natural defense and method for washing away food and bacteria and neutralizing acids in the mouth, this can impact the amounts of bacteria in the mouth.
Other studies have found that some diseases that lower the body’s resistance to infection, such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, can make oral health problems more severe, too.
The human body is an amazing thing. But it’s important to remember that we have to take care of all of its parts- even the mouth. It’s not enough to diet, exercise and meditate. You have to brush and floss, too. Remember, your teeth are more than just a pretty smile. They aid in speech, development, eating and nutrition, face shape and appearance and so much more. You can hide a belly or other area you may not love, but you can’t hide your teeth!
This year, make a resolution to get in better oral health! Commit to brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Your teeth will thank you and so will your whole body.
If you need help getting your child’s mouth in shape this year, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry would love to help. Call our office at 864-760-1440 and let us give you Something to Smile About!
How can you avoid cavities? Of course, a low-sugar diet reduces the presence of bacteria-filled plaque, which can destroy tooth enamel. Daily flossing and brushing are critical, too, as is attending six-month check-ups at Anderson Pediatric Dentistry's Anderson, SC, office. For children, Anderson Pediatric's Dr. Nietzer and Dr. Monn also recommend sealants—easily applied tooth-colored coatings which protect deeply fissured molars. Learn more about sealants and how they can keep your child cavity-free!
What are sealants?
Sealants are ultra-thin coatings "painted" on children's back teeth to protect from decay. The American Dental Association (ADA) touts sealants as a safe and effective barrier against the corrosive acids secreted by oral bacteria.
Why are sealants applied to the back teeth? Well, it's because molars are not smooth and flat as the front teeth, making them harder to clean. This difficulty stems from how the surfaces are grooved, with some of the enamel variations being so tiny, you cannot see them.
Due to this, molars are highly prone to decay and benefit from the extra barrier sealants provide. In fact, the ADA states that sealants decrease tooth decay in young molars by about 80 percent.
What treatment is like at Anderson Pediatric Dentistry
First, a hygienist will clean your child's teeth. Next, the selected teeth are dried and prepped with a mild etching solution. Then, the sealant is applied; this material is liquid, and the dentist ensures that it penetrates the fine fissures and pits completely. Finally, with a special blue light, the sealant is "cured," or hardened.
The results are totally unnoticeable to the eye, however, the sealants go on to protect young teeth for years. Even adults with healthy molars may benefit from sealant applications!
Sealants are nothing new
They've been around for decades, but unfortunately, many families skip this important preventive dental service. This is a shame, for sealants, along with fluoride treatments, provide children with inexpensive and easy insurance against more expensive and complicated procedures such as fillings, or worse yet, extractions.
Find out more
At your child's next exam and cleaning appointment, ask Dr. Nietzer or Dr. Monn about sealants. We'll be happy to explain the process and its advantages. If it's time for a routine visit to Anderson Pediatric Dentistry, call us today for an appointment: (864) 760-1440.
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