Do I Need to be Worried if My Child Grind His or Her Teeth at Night? Visit Dr. Marcia Blazer of Scottsdale for More Information

Teeth grinding, known as "bruxism" is very common in both children and adults. While tooth grinding can cause long term damage to the teeth and jaws in adults, it is typically not a problem in children. It is not unusual for the worried parents to call saying they can hear their kids gnashing their teeth when they check up on them at night. Dr. Blazer tell them that this is Mother Nature's way to get the erupting baby teeth to fit together naturally and is not a cause for concern.

What are Symptoms of Bruxism? 

Daytime grinding in children is less common. While rare, it can cause some of the symptoms listed below:

  • Frequent complaints of headache.
  • Injured teeth and gums.
  • Loud grinding or clicking sounds.
  • Rhythmic tightening or clenching of the jaw muscles.
  • Unusual complaints about painful jaw muscles – especially in the morning.
  • Unusual tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods.

How can Bruxism Damage my Child’s Teeth?

Dr. Blazer has seen children whose baby teeth are so worn that most of the tooth structure is missing. Surprisingly, these children often seem to be completely unaware of this and have no discomfort. When this is the case, we will monitor the child as the baby teeth are naturally lost (this is called exfoliation and occurs from ages 6-12 or so) to make sure that the child does not continue to grind to that degree.

Of course there are exceptions to this. Children with certain developmental disorders and brain injuries may be at a particular risk for grinding. In such cases, a dental specialist trained to care for these disorders may suggest facial injections to calm the jaw muscles or provide a protective nighttime mouthpiece. If the onset of bruxing is sudden, current medications need to be evaluated.

Rest assured that most children will outgrow tooth grinding by the time they are 12 or 13 which is around the time the last baby tooth is lost.

If you have questions or concerns about bruxism or grinding teeth, please contact our friendly staff that serves the community of Scottsdale, AZ.


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