While staying with my parents during our holiday vacation, my three-year-old son was sleeping on the couch in their living room. Because we stayed up late talking in the same room, we noticed for the first time that he was grinding and grinding his teeth. It sounded terrible. I’m shocked he didn’t wake himself up. My parents were sure grinding your teeth is a habit you grow out of, but I don’t want to leave it unchecked if it’s going to cause damage later. We just had his check-up a month ago, but should I make another appointment with his pediatric dentist to have him seen soon?
Karen, Irvine, CA
Bruxism, which is a fancy word for teeth grinding, is a very disconcerting thing to be audience to. Although it is worrisome, it is actually very common in children for different reasons. It can be stress-related, caused by medicine or allergies, or may just be something your child does between their different cycles of sleep.
Fortunately, teeth grinding is a habit most kids grow out of without any detriment. Because your son is young though, he may not tell you if he is experiencing any side effects of grinding his teeth so be diligent in watching for signs. These may include pain in his jaw or ear, headaches, or rubbing his jaw or face. You can also check his teeth to make sure they aren’t becoming mishapen by grinding, but that usually doesn’t occur unless this habit continues for a long time.
For peace of mind, you can schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist and have your son checked to make sure the teeth grinding isn’t causing problems, but where your son just had his checkup and your dentist didn’t have any concerns, you can probably wait until your next appointment and mention it then. If your son exhibits symptoms or pain, call your dentist.
You may be interested in reading more about pediatric dentists.
This post is sponsored by Akron dentist Angel Dental Care.