Tooth Chatter

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Welcome to our Blog!

Durham Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics wants to be your source for information about your child’s teeth and oral health.  It is a truth that children with healthy mouths experience a higher quality of life.  Children with cavities suffer from pain and infection; the discomfort leads to poorer nutrition and school performance.  Therefore, prevention strategies need to begin even before the first tooth erupts. 

We hope this blog will provide you with some smiles, some news, and some direction on how to care for your family’s teeth.  Our first few posts will focus on the period from birth to when the first teeth begin to erupt.  This is the time when you set the habits of diet and oral hygiene that will lead to a lifetime of excellent dental health.

Now let’s chat…

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June 1, 2016

“Help! My child is grinding his teeth!”

You check on your child as they are sleeping and there it is again.  You hear the terrible sound of grinding teeth.  We regularly receive questions about tooth grinding also known as bruxism from our patients. Approximately 15% of pediatric and young adult patients suffer from bruxism.  Tooth grinding can be described as tooth to tooth contact and it can occur while a person is either awake or asleep.  In majority of the cases, the patient is asleep when bruxism occurs.

So what causes tooth grinding?  There is no known cause, but there are several factors that can contribute to the noisy habit. Dentists describe these factors as local, systemic and pathologic / neurologic.  Local factors are issues involving the teeth.  For example, a filling may be too tall or too high preventing the patient from closing completely.  Systemic factors may include nutritional deficiency and allergies.  Cerebral palsy and other neurologic disabilities can cause bruxism.  These problems are the most difficult to treat because the bruxism is related to a central nervous system issue.

Most bruxism in the young patient is self-limiting.  We find that bruxism decreases with the eruption of the permanent teeth.  Treatment is usually not recommended.  If treatment is indicated it is usually a mouth appliance or guard designed to protect the teeth from wearing down.  Often the noise or sound of grinding is far worse than the damage to the teeth.  The next time you hear your child grinding their teeth remember to ask us at Durham Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics to look for problems related to the grinding.  We will make recommendations to help protect your child’s teeth for their lifetime.

Written by: Felicia V. Swinney, DMD, MS 

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U.S. News and World Report’s 2016 Career Rankings listed Orthodontist as #1 and Dentist as #2 for “Best Jobs!”