During the pandemic, Dr. Jason Rosenfeld has been seeing and treating many of his patients for teeth grinding. Lockdowns, exposures, hybrid schedules, virtual learning, isolation and lack of socialization have caused tremendous anxiety in us all, particularly, in children and adolescents. One of the manifestations of this anxiety is teeth grinding. Teeth grinding or Bruxism can be a severe dental concern if clenching and gnashing wear down tooth enamel and cause persistent pain in the teeth or face. Often a child will grind teeth during sleep as a way to relieve anxiety or stress. Teeth-clenching and grinding cause headaches, earaches, facial pain, and jaw problems. If not treated early, your child may chip or break his/her teeth. It’s vital to know whether your child has the condition, even if they still have their baby teeth.
Wear and tear on the teeth’s enamel from grinding can also lead to painful chewing or make the teeth more sensitive to hot and cold. If a child’s medication or another medical condition causes the grinding, the child’s pediatrician may need to adjust prescriptions. Some long-term effects can result in significant damage to the teeth if the child keeps clenching and grinding for an extended period. The enamel will not only wear down, but the teeth may chip, flatten or fracture along with a chance of developing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). TMD causes further pain in the jaw and can make it difficult for a child to chew or open their mouth completely.
Dr. Jason Rosenfeld recommends custom nightguards to alleviate grinding. This appliance, also called mouthguards or occlusal guards, are retainer-like soft or hard plastic pieces that cover either the top or bottom set of teeth. Nightguards cushion your teeth from the force of clenching and prevent the teeth from grinding together, preventing headaches, damaged teeth, and inflamed gums.
Customized guards are custom-made to the patient’s teeth and are high quality. An impression is taken of the teeth, sent to the dental lab and custom-fitted to the patient. Dr. Jason checks the mouthguard’s fit and makes any necessary adjustments before the first use at home.
Most importantly, bring your children for routine preventative dental visits with Dr. Jason Rosenfeld to help find and treat teeth grinding. Treating the condition from the outset is part of good preventative dental care.