DESCRIPTIONBruxism is the habit of grinding teeth. Tooth-grinding is often done while your child is asleep, but grinding or tapping teeth during the day is also common. Continual tooth-grinding may erode gums and supporting bones in the mouth. The teeth, gums, and tempero-mandibular joints are affected.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Dentist's care. Your dentist may manufacture, fit, and install a night-guard prosthesis to prevent tooth-grinding while your child is asleep. A night-guard prosthesis consists of removable splints which fit over the tops of the child's teeth to eliminate incorrect biting pressure.
Biofeedback training or counseling for the child to learn ways to cope more effectively with stress.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSFrequent contraction of muscles on the side of the face.
Annoying tooth-grinding noises at night. These may be loud enough to awaken others.
Damaged teeth, supporting gums, and bone (apparent in a dental exam).
Unconscious attempts to correct a faulty "bite" (contact between the upper and lower teeth when the child's jaws are closed).
Stress or anxiety.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEHelp your child avoid stressful situations. See Appendix 19.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a dentist.
X-rays of the mouth.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSWithout treatment, your child's teeth, bones, and gums may erode from the pressure of grinding.
Usually curable in 6 months without treatment.
HOME CARENo specific instructions except those listed under other headings.
MEDICATIONMedicine usually is not necessary for this disorder.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child grinds the teeth at night.
Your child develops pain around the ears, dizziness, or ringing in the ears.
Your child develops pain or clicking in the jaw.
Your child loses or breaks the night-guard prosthesis.