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Teeth Grinding


Why do people grind their teeth and how can it be stopped?

Answer of our experts

Teeth grinding is a very complex problem. One must eliminate a systemic reason for the grinding, discomfort, pain, psychological tension, neurological disorder, etc. If one rules out systemic pain, etc. then one must evaluate the way the teeth come together. Are there any occlusal disharmonies? If the teeth do not come together, clash with one another, or interfere with coming togethergrinding can occur.

It is very common for children to grind their teeth. While eruption of teeth occursgrinding accompanies these activitiesgrinding helps get the teeth to line up and interdigitate appropriately. Grinding is common in neurologically affected patients (brain damaged, etc.). It could be a stress release mechanism. It sometimes is a reflection of mandiblar movements and manifests a loud sound.

If the teeth are wearing away (gum recession occurs, facial muscle fatigue limits eating and causes pain, or TMJ joint pain and clicking occurs), treatment must be initiated. This can be via mouthguards, medications, orthodontics, etc. The mouthguard sometimes eliminates the grinding, especially if it is a residual habit that was started at an earlier age. Some of the "fun" is taken away via the mouthguard and the child stops grinding. Medications do help. If clenching and grinding are associated together, muscle relaxation medicines or mental-stress eliminating drugs also can help.

I do not think that one can be taught not to grind. It is either a habit or it is elicited from other sources. Facial massage and nurturing may be used as a part of a behavior management program. All of these approaches are valid, what will work best is always unknown until tried.

RM/ TK 7-13-10

SEE ALSO: Teeth Exfoliation
Teeth Grinding 2
Teeth Growth

Answer is checked and valid for


Pain and Behaviour

As pain can easily remain unrecognised in a child with CdLS, all care providers should be aware of the different manifestations and the possible sources of pain. Specific tools to assess pain are recommended.


Feeding and Dental Difficulties

In every CdLS individual with prolonged and marked feeding difficulties, the multidisciplinary assessment (from healthcare workers across many disciplines) should consider (temporary) placement of a gastrostomy (surgical opening through the abdomen into the stomach) as a supplement to oral feeding.
In individuals with CdLS who have recurrent respiratory infections, reflux and/or aspiration (breathing foreign objects into airways) should be ruled out.
The palate should be closely examined at diagnosis. In case of symptoms of a (submucous) cleft palate, referral for specialist assessment is indicated.
Dental assessment and cleaning should take place regularly; a more thorough dental examination or treatment under anaesthesia may be necessary.

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Please take note that the Ask the Expert service is comprised of volunteer professionals in various areas of focus. Answers are not considered a medical, behavioral, or educational consultation. Ask the Expert is not a substitute for the care and attention your child’s personal physician, psychologist, educational consultant, or social worker can deliver.

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