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Elite Prosthetic Dentistry team Washington DC


Understanding the Benefits of Early Diagnosis & Treatment of Bruxism (Teeth Grinding) for Children

Posted in Bruxism

Posted on May, 24 2023 by George Talmazov, DDS, MSD
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Bruxism is a dental condition that does not have a predilection for age – this condition can affect adults and children, and can occur during day or night. Bruxism is defined as the excessive grinding of the teeth or clenching of the jaw. This condition has largely a psychological pathogenicity and is not unusual in populations of industrialized countries. Grinding is a response to stress and over time the teeth wear out such that the enamel layer (the hard white substance of the teeth we see when we smile) disappears and the dentin layer (the softer organic layer filled with cells) becomes exposed.

Diagnosing patients as Bruxers can be challenging at times as some people don’t have any symptoms. While others may experience headaches, jaw pain, tooth pain, or dental problems. Hence seeing a prosthodontist dental specialist is important for not only obtaining the correct diagnosis but also formulating a proper treatment plan. 

Comparing Bruxism Treatment for Children & Adults

What is generally observed is that children with this condition will often improve on their own when preventative measures are in place early on. For adults, dental guards may help protect the teeth from damage; however, if bruxism was not diagnosed and addressed early on there could be breakdown of the teeth which impacts not only the esthetics but also the function.

In cases where bruxism has resulted in significant loss of tooth structure it is indicated to restore the form and function of the teeth using crowns. In one such case a 27 year old young man presented to our office with evidence of severe bruxism. Reviewing the clinical photos it can be seen that he has ground the enamel (the hardest substance in the body) and flattened the front teeth. As a consequence, this lowers the young patient’s confidence. Furthermore, the breakdown is sufficient where tooth sensitivity was an issue as well. If no restorative intervention is completed the patient would continue to grind the teeth, effectively making the teeth too short to be saved.

How Occlusal Guards Address Bruxism

At a minimum, such cases should be treated with an occlusal guard. This is an appliance the patient would wear at night, and even throughout the day depending on the severity of the bruxism. The occlusal guard not only alleviates symptoms with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and masticatory muscle fatigue, it also protects the teeth from wear. In the case presented here, the patient was treated with crowns in order to return the function and esthetics he had lost. Additionally, a custom occlusal guard appliance was made to protect against further breakdown.

Don’t Put Off Treatment for Your or Your Children’s Teeth Grinding 

If you are concerned about the impact of teeth grinding on your teeth and smile, don’t delay speaking to an experienced prosthodontist about your bruxism and how it can be treated and prevent permanent damage. Your smile is for a lifetime, so contact Elite Prosthetic Dentistry to schedule a consultation with Dr. Marlin and Dr. Talmazov today.

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