My child grinds his teeth is this ok?
Teeth grinding in children is very common and normal. Most children grow out of by the time they are 6-7 years old. Very rarely do children experience tooth sensitivity from worn dentition. For a very small number of children the grinding may be a result of obstructive sleep disorders in which case some appliance therapy would be recommended. Most young children do not need any treatment. If the habit persists past the age of 7, the grinding may be a result of occlusion or bite issues. This can be evaluated by the pediatric dentist. Stress can also start to play a role in the older children.
Does my child need a night guard?
A night guard is not recommend for children. In fact, it may be more harmful by restricting the growth of your child’s jaw. As mentioned, most children grow out of it without any intervention. If your child has been diagnosed with sleep apnea their grinding may be a symptom of their obstructive sleep disorder. For these children an night time appliance to help influence the growth of the jaw may be needed. The pediatric dentist will be able to evaluate this and determine the proper course of treatment.
The grinding is so loud, I am worried my child will break their teeth?
This is very unlikely to happen and not something that should be of concern.
What can I do to help stop the grinding at night?
For the younger kids (under 6) it can sometimes help to make sure they are calm and relaxed prior to going to bed. Kids who are hyper prior to bed time tend to grind a little more. If the grinding is a result of airway issues or a jaw discrepancy, an orthodontic appliance will help.