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Pediatric Bruxism

Treating Pediatric Bruxism in Walnut Creek

Treating child tooth grinding in Walnut CreekChildren face unique situations when it comes to their smiles. If you notice your child showing signs of tooth or jaw pain or coming to you about headaches upon awakening, they may be suffering from bruxism. While the condition is unpleasant, our team at Shadelands Pediatric Dentistry can help!

Bruxism is one of the most common oral conditions affecting infants, children, and teens. We know how this concern can impact daily life and comfort. Our pediatric dentist, Dr. Melissa Lopez, is an expert at relieving uncomfortable symptoms and providing the treatment needed to protect your child’s long-term dental health.

Our specialist and team offer a variety of solutions for treating pediatric bruxism in Walnut Creek. Contact our office to schedule a consultation for your child today!


What is Pediatric Bruxism?

Bruxism is the repetition of involuntary teeth grinding or clenching and can occur in your child while awake or asleep. The condition is most common in children, and cases can vary according to their general health and age. While some children eventually outgrow pediatric bruxism, others do not. If not treated early on, constant teeth clenching and grinding can lead to serious concerns for their long-term dental health.

Pediatric Bruxism in Infants: A surprising number of babies grind their teeth. This can begin around ten months old, usually when the top two and bottom two front teeth emerge. It’s not uncommon for bruxism in infants to go away on its own. While dental damage from pediatric bruxism is unlikely at this age, be sure to contact our pediatric dentist right away if you notice any changes in your baby’s teeth.

Pediatric Bruxism in Children & Teens: Teeth grinding is also common in children and teens. The condition can begin around three years old and continue until age six, when adult teeth start emerging. Bruxism is a concern known to be more common in children with other conditions, such as ADHD, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, and autism.

What Causes Bruxism in Children?

There is no sole cause for involuntary teeth clenching and grinding in children. However, many pediatric dentists, including Dr. Lopez, believe that bruxism can result from anxiety, stress, sleep disorders, and dental misalignment. Other possible contributing concerns can include mouth breathing, hyperactivity, and side effects from medications.

7 Signs Your Child May Grind Their Teeth

Signs your child grinds teeth in sleepDetermining if your child has pediatric bruxism isn’t always straightforward. Often, children don’t know they have the condition because they don’t realize they’re grinding their teeth. One way you can check is to listen for gnashing noises as your child sleep.

Sometimes you can hear them grinding their teeth. You can also look at their jaw, checking for back-and-forth movements that could indicate bruxism.

Signs of teeth clenching and grinding can vary, but below are seven common top signs to look out for:

  1. Headaches
  2. Earaches
  3. Chipped or cracked teeth
  4. Tiny fractures on teeth
  5. Worn-down teeth
  6. Sensitivity to pressure or heat and cold
  7. Jaw soreness & pain

If your child or teen comes to you complaining about any of the above symptoms, it’s essential that you schedule a visit with our pediatric dentist. Our team is well-versed in detecting, diagnosing, and treating teeth clenching and grinding.

What Are the Negative Effects of Pediatric Bruxism?

The impact of your child’s bruxism can go far beyond jaw pain and headaches. Over time, the constant teeth grinding and clenching can wear down enamel. In severe cases, teeth become little more than stumps. Even though baby teeth aren’t permanent, their proper development and health are essential for promoting an optimal adult smile.

Jaw pain in childrenBruxism in children can also have other effects, including:

  • Jaw & tooth pain
  • Yellowish or discolored tooth enamel
  • Loose teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Damage to the inner cheeks and tongue

Teeth grinding and clenching can also cause or worsen TMJ disorders. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is where your child’s jaw meets with their skull, just in front of their ears. When this joint is irritated or inflamed, jaw movement is limited and can lead to discomfort, pain, and soreness - all of which can impact your child’s chewing and speaking abilities.

Can Pediatric Bruxism Be Cured?

While there is no cure for teeth grinding and clenching in children, there are numerous options to help relieve symptoms and address the underlying causes. Daytime bruxism, or grinding when awake, may decrease with awareness, specific exercises, and physical therapy. Nocturnal, or sleep bruxism, requires other strategies designed to protect your child’s smile during slumber.

Treatment Options for Pediatric Bruxism in Walnut Creek

Pediatric mouth guards for teeth grindingIf you suspect your child grinds or clenches their teeth, a visit with our pediatric dentist can provide a precise diagnosis. Dr. Lopez takes time to explain the source of the condition, go over treatment options, and put together a tailor-made plan for your child. It’s also essential to keep up with regular visits, so we can catch signs of dental damage and protect your child’s oral health accordingly.

Our team at Shadelands Pediatric Dentistry provides a wide variety of solutions to help your child conquer bruxism. One trusted course of action that proves successful is mouthguards. We offer several types of devices designed to halt involuntary teeth grinding and clenching while also protecting teeth from further damage. The most common kind of mouthguards for treating pediatric bruxism include stock, boil and bite, and custom devices.

Protecting Young Smile with Walnut Creek Pediatric Bruxism Treatment

If you think your child is suffering from bruxism or believe they have the symptoms, be sure to contact Shadelands Pediatric Dentistry. Our children's dentist will conduct a thorough consultation and exam to uncover the source and diagnose your child’s situation with accuracy. We only provide solutions designed with their comfort, safety, and overall health in mind.


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We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the quick contact form below.

Office Location

  • Walnut Creek
  • 520 Lennon Ln
  • Suite A
  • Walnut Creek, CA
  • 94598
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  • Call: (925) 930-9390