Does your child clench or grind his or her teeth while sleeping? Are you worried that he or she might develop TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder)?
Characterized by stiffness or pain in or near your jaw, TMJ is actually a common problem for both children and adults. Fortunately, with awareness and a proper medical diagnosis, TMJ does not have to be as scary as it initially sounds.
Bruxism, a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth, can lead to TMJ and is commonly brought on by stress. Not all children clench or grind their teeth because of stress, however. Two other potential causes include allergies and misaligned teeth.
Many parents become alarmed when their kids grind their teeth but, according to medical professionals, teeth grinding is fairly common (found in 15-33% of children) and something that they will grow out of. If, however, you have a preteen or teen who is still grinding his or her teeth and/or exhibiting other signs of TMJ, then you should consider a trip to our office.
Other signs of bruxism that will appear over time include wearing of the teeth, muscle spasms or tension in the face, and excess stress on the jaw joint. These are serious conditions that you should mention to your dentist.
In the meantime, you can help by:
- Discouraging children from chewing gum and from chewing on other objects, such as pens.
- Teaching them to consciously relax their jaw muscles, especially at bedtime.
- Placing a warm cloth on the jaw below the ear lobes.
- Having them wear a nighttime mouth guard, if necessary.
Contact Aurora Dental Group today for more helpful information or to schedule a consultation.