Have you ever come across your child grinding his or her teeth during sleep? If so, you may be worried that your little one is damaging the smile you have come to adore. You may be interested to learn, then, that a shocking 38% of children grind their teeth, yet very few of them receive treatment for their bruxism (teeth grinding). The reason for this disconnect is not neglect, either. According to your Livonia family dentist, Dr. James Stewart, bruxism is a habit that children may outgrow around age six, and because there is little threat of teeth sustaining significant damage from the force inflicted upon them at this age, treatment is generally unnecessary.
When Bruxism Becomes a Problem
Just because most children do not require treatment for bruxism does not meant that you should ignore warning signs that could point to bruxism-related oral health problems. If, for instance, your child often complains about sensitivity in his or her teeth or jaw, you should mention these symptoms to your Livonia family dentist, Dr. Stewart. Sensitive teeth and a sore jaw may point to two oral health problems that more commonly develop in adults and teenagers who grind their teeth. Sensitive teeth can warn that teeth are being subjected to great strain each night. Over time, this strain can wear down teeth, eventually breaking them. A sore jaw can warn of a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, a condition which develops when the jaw joints, or TMJs, experience excessive strain. Common symptoms associated with TMJ disorders include frequent headaches, a locked jaw, earaches, migraines, facial pain, and earaches.
Although broken teeth and TMJ disorders are unlikely to occur when children grind their teeth, a bruxism habit that is resulting in discomfort should be monitored by you and mentioned to your Livonia family dentist. If such a habit were to linger as your child grows up, it could eventually result in one of the serious oral health problems mentioned above. It is a good idea, therefore, to be aware of any discomfort your child may be experiencing and to bring your little one in for regular checkups and examinations.
Your Livonia Family Dentist
Choosing a dentist to care for your children is a big decision. You want to choose someone who will work well with your child, introduction him or her to the benefits of dentistry in a way that creates a positive opinion. Dr. James Stewart understands the value of early dental appointment and has a wealth of experience in working with children and families. During appointments, he makes it a priority to put younger patients at ease and to encourage communication and even fun and laughter.
About James Stewart, DDS: James Stewart, DDS is an experienced and respected dentist serving patients from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, and Garden City. Patients can contact Dr. Stewart by calling (734) 425-4400 to schedule an appointment.