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Monday, July 24, 2017

My Child is grinding his teeth at night and it is driving us crazy! What should we do?

I have had patients come in and ask me this question.  In the past I would have said that there is nothing you can do and they will grow out of it.  Today, I would ask them if the child is also snoring. I would ask a whole range of questions to see if possibly they have a number of different issues.  Depending on the results of our screening I may now refer the child to their family doctor to possibly send the child for a sleep assessment.  We would be concerned regarding the possibility of sleep apnea.  Today we understand that bruxism (teeth grinding) maybe the brains' way of trying to wake someone because the brain may not be getting enough oxygen. There is no question that as the child grows the airway will get larger and the problem of bruxing usually fades.  But you need to ask yourself is it worth waiting if it is an airway problem and your child is not getting enough oxygen to their developing brain.  How many nights without oxygen for a child brain is enough?   For this reason there are pediatric sleep studies and if the child has sleep apnea the treatment usually involves  removal of tonsils and adenoids and possibly orthodontic expansion of the maxilla.  The airway is openned and the child usually does better at school, stops snoring and bruximg and a whole range of other problems tend to improve.
All the best
Having fun doing dentistry in Hamilton Ontario

Dr Ron Barzilay

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