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Does My Child Need A Custom Night Guard?

Does My Child Need A Custom Night Guard?

Bruxism is a condition in which a person regularly grinds their teeth or clenches their jaw. This is often done subconsciously and frequently at night, although some people do it during the day as well, especially if they are stressed, angry, or concentrating intently. Children who have bruxism likely don’t realize that they have it, but they may feel the effects of regular tooth grinding in the form of jaw pain, headaches, and other symptoms. A common way to prevent tooth grinding is through the use of a custom night guard to create a barrier between the upper and lower teeth.

Considerations For Children’s Custom Night Guards

Signs Of Teeth Grinding

  • Sore Jaw
    If your child grinds their teeth, it can cause jaw pain even if the grinding isn’t particularly hard. Muscles are engaged when the jaw is clenching, so even if your child isn’t grinding their teeth with much force, these muscles will still become tired and sore. Persistent jaw pain may be classified as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), and it can affect your child’s ability to chew, speak, and even open their mouth to brush their teeth. If your child complains of regular jaw pain, especially in the morning, they are likely clenching their jaw or grinding their teeth at night.
  • Headaches
    Grinding teeth puts a lot of pressure on the muscles of the jaw, neck, and the sides of the head, which can cause headaches and contribute to the development of migraines.
  • Flat Teeth
    You won’t be able to tell by looking at your child’s teeth if they are grinding their teeth at night, but your family dentist will. If teeth grinding is severe and prolonged, it can wear on the teeth. Often, this wear is seen through a flattening of the teeth, but sometimes grinding can also cause cracked teeth. If your dentist sees that teeth are flattened or that there are signs of strain on the teeth, they may recommend a custom night guard.

Considerations When Getting A Custom Mouth Guard

  • Age
    If your child does show signs of grinding their teeth, you may want to consider if a custom night guard is right for them depending on their age and tooth development. Children sometimes grind their teeth because their teeth are not positioned well, but many children may grow out of this by age 12. If tooth grinding is not very severe, you may want to discuss with your dentist whether a night guard is necessary or not.
  • Mouth Sensitivity
    Some children may struggle to sleep with a mouth guard in. If tooth grinding is mild and the night guard is affecting their quality of sleep, you will need to discuss this with your dentist to decide if a mouth guard is worth it. Keep in mind that it might take your child some time to adjust to the new sensation of sleeping with a mouth guard in and that they may have trouble sleeping due to jaw pain if they don’t use a custom night guard.
  • Tooth Health And Development
    Children’s teeth are more prone to movement and tooth grinding can influence tooth placement. Prolonged grinding can put pressure on the teeth that causes them to move and your child may require Invisalign® or even oral surgery in the future. Tooth grinding can also damage the teeth, which requires restorative dentistry such as dental crowns. Addressing tooth grinding with custom night guards now can help preserve your child’s teeth and jaw in the future.

Custom Night Guards For Children

A family dentist will be able to help guide you in your decision on whether a custom night guard is right for your child. If you and your dentist agree about addressing your child’s bruxism, the dentist can make a custom night guard for your child. To get a custom night guard, visit Marlborough Dental in NE Calgary. Our highly skilled dentists will create a custom night guard that fits your child’s mouth perfectly and that offers comfort and protection against tooth grinding. Dr. Popp and the team at Marlborough Dental will work with you to determine the most suitable dental care plan for your child. To book an appointment with Marlborough Dental Centre in NE Calgary, either call 1-403-248-2066 or fill out the contact form below.


Q: Are custom night guards a choking hazard?
A: No, unlike some store-bought night guards, custom night guards are designed to fit the teeth so that they stay on the teeth all night.

Q: Can mouth guards negatively affect my child’s teeth?
A: Over-the-counter mouth guards have a risk of moving your child’s teeth out of position, but custom night guards do not. Because custom night guards are made to fit your child’s teeth, there is no risk of teeth movement.

Q: How often should my child see the dentist?
A: You should visit the dentist for child dental care every 6 months or twice a year.

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