Given the potential to affect their oral health for a lifetime – especially once the permanent dentition starts to erupt – this is an issue that needs to be tackled as quickly as possible.
Signs and symptoms associated with bruxism in children might include changes to their facial symmetry, inability of the lips to form an adequate seal, pain in the area of the masseter or temporalis muscles upon palpation, headaches and earaches, dentine sensitivity, and temporomandibular disorders, as well as anterior and posterior cross bites and tooth wear.
If a child presents with warning signs that may be attributed to bruxism, it will be helpful to ensure he/she is brushing effectively yet gently with a relatively soft toothbrush and a toothpaste that is low in abrasivity, as well as suggesting they do something relaxing before bed such as reading or having a bath.
In addition, a soft mouthguard to be worn at night may be customised to prevent further damage to the dentition, which will need to be changed regularly for younger patients as the child and their teeth develop.
Sparkle Dental Labs can join you in the fight against destruction and to help reduce the effects of bruxism by producing top quality night guards and splints.
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If a patient presents with pain and/or tooth wear that can be attributed to bruxism and they tell you that they are stressed, it is a good idea to let them know that making a few simple lifestyle changes can be of significant benefit, including:
• Doing something relaxing before bed, such as yoga, reading or having a bath
• Learning to brush effectively yet gently with a relatively soft toothbrush and a toothpaste low in abrasivity.
Further, prescribing muscle relaxants and the use of a suitable mouthguard, such as a Michigan splint, may prove useful. Such splints help to protect the teeth against bruxism and reduce TMJ pain by encouraging the patient’s mandible to assume the most comfortable and reproducible position. The overall aim with such a guard is to protect against any damage that may be caused by a habitual grinding pattern and to break the cyclical habit, if at all possible.
In addition, recommending care from a physiotherapist or osteopath with specialist knowledge of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) might be appropriate to prevent further damage.
The London Tooth Wear Centre® offers an evidence-based and comprehensive approach to managing tooth wear.