What Age Can a Child Wear a Dental Night Guard?

Can a Child Wear a Dental Night Guard?

Short answer: Ask your dentist. Recommended use for children varies greatly.

As parents, we deal with miniature crisis’ all the time–scraped knees, growing pains, hunger pains, sick days, and everything in between. These common issues have aided us in becoming pretty proficient in what to do when unexpected situations arise, but when faced with child teeth grinding, there seems to be a lack of clarity, understanding and call-to-action.

Here, we attempt to answer the most common questions regarding teeth grinding or jaw clenching in children under 12.

What causes teeth grinding in children?

As of today, dentists, academics and researchers alike still can’t fully agree on the reason we grind our teeth. It is generally agreed upon, however, that stress & anxiety are contributing factors.

Is there anything I can do to lower the chances of my child grinding his/her teeth?

There could be some things in your child’s environment that trigger instances of teeth grinding. Some tips to create a calmer environment include:

  • It sounds cliche! But, minimize everyday stress. Plan ahead. Make lunches the night before school. Lay out clothes ahead of time. Get up on time in the morning. Understand the needs of your children and meet them.
  • Parents! Get control of your own anxiety. Your kids are “mini-you’s”. Lead by example.
  • Create a calm and soothing bedroom. Listen to your child and let them have a hand in decorating their own bedroom. Choose their favorite colors and consider low lighting.
  • Exercising every day and healthy eating. Less sugar.
  • Positive reinforcement instead of negative.
  • Reading books before bed.

Is there perhaps another reason my child is grinding (or clenching) his/her teeth?

One of the more common possibilities that are being explored has to deal with the growth phases of a child’s teeth and jaw. During the nascent stages of development, a child’s top and bottom set of teeth do not fit together comfortably. The instinctive response that some children have because of this fact is to grind their teeth to provide a respite from the discomfort that they may be experiencing.

Some children tend to outgrow the habit of teeth grinding. Other children may develop an attachment to the habit and carry it well into adulthood.

Ok. So how do I stop his/her teeth grinding?

You should know that there is no known cure for teeth grinding. Many children will outgrow the habit by age 12. Your first step is to schedule an appointment with your dentist. The dentist may suggest your child wear a custom night guard.
There seems to be a lot of contradictory information as far as what age is acceptable for a child to wear a night guard to bed.
Ask your dentist to see what he/she recommends.

Is there a choking risk?

There does not appear to be any choking risk from wearing a dental night guard.

Here is a great forum about dental night guard use from real users with personal experiences.

Custom Made Dental Night Guards


  • Far more superior to athletic mouth guards or OTC (over-the-counter, or mass produced)
  • Guaranteed proper and comfortable fit


  • The dental anatomy in children is constantly changing, so you’ll need to replace them frequently to maintain an exact fit.
Can a Child Wear a Dental Night Guard?

So what to do now?
Being a parent, you would immediately want to acquire a clear-cut solution to the teeth grinding challenges that your child is currently facing.

The first thing that you should do is to schedule an appointment with your dentist. An initial consultation with an established dental practitioner may yield a few solutions for this specific occurrence.

So, can a child wear a dental night guard?
The most common solution that dentists may prescribe is to have your child use a dental night guard while he / she sleeps. The decision to employ a dental night guard can prevent your child from forming permanent damage from grinding his / her teeth. Remember: teeth don’t grow back.

Risks and precautions

While a dental night guard may seem like an ideal solution for your child’s teeth grinding problems, there are still a few caveats that you must take into account.

Some children may not feel comfortable using a mouth guard at night. The sense of discomfort that they experience could interfere with their sleeping patterns. Even if your child doesn’t have any issues with using a dental night guard, there are still a few things that you need to watch out for.

Once you spot that the form of the dental night guard has become irregular, stop using the device and acquire a replacement as soon as possible.

Some children may experience oral irritation because of frequent utilization of a dental night guard. Before you have your child use the device, make sure that you check his / her gums for any mouth sores or other oral lesions.

Given the nature of appliance, dental night guards tend to accumulate a considerable amount of bacteria over a period of time. You must be rigorous when it comes to sanitizing the dental night guard that your child uses on a daily basis.

Over the course of using the night guard, make sure that you get to schedule regular oral exams with your child’s dentist in order to assess the progress that has been made or whether adjustments need to be executed.

Final Thoughts: Can a Child Wear a Dental Night Guard?

It is essential for you to acquire a dental night guard from a reputable dentist or online dental night guard lab. There are a variety of mouth guards that are available on the market and you may be tempted to acquire one, but you run the risk of compromising your child’s safety. While going to a dentist may require you to keep up with a specific amount of cost, you can guarantee that your child will be able to use a well fitted dental night guard that addresses all of his / her needs and preferences.

head trauma in athletes

Head Trauma In Athletes

Head Trauma In Athletes: Should We Start Rethinking Careers In Contact Sports?

Head trauma in athletes has been known as a possible consequence of taking part in contact sports for a long time, but recent research has shown that the damage done to the brain may be much worse than previously realized. Given this new understanding, is it time to rethink a career in contact sports?

It’s one of the saddest sights in sport to see a former world-class athlete struggling with traumatic brain injury. There are some athletes who just can’t seem to see the signs and bow out gracefully. Had it not been for a torn ACL, former UFC Welterweight Champion George St. Pierre would be returning to the cage, long after he’d admitted to problems with memory loss and periods of lost time. St. Pierre is just one example among many.

It’s easy to see why they try to prolong their careers. They’ve worked hard to get where they are and are reaping the financial rewards of their success. The same qualities that made them top athletes also makes them want to keep being top athletes until they are forced to retire. It’s also the case that many athletes are from underprivileged backgrounds and may not be suited to any other career. If an athlete with no other viable career prospects has financial commitments, they may feel as though they have no choice but to keep going.

So what are the known conditions associated with contact sports?

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

First, let’s talk about mild TBI. Despite the name; “mild” TBI can have very serious consequences. Research has shown that mild TBI may be a major factor when it comes to combat veterans experiencing PTSD. It can have many mood altering symptoms. People with mild TBI frequently experience depression. Men with TBI also typically experience lower testosterone levels, which may have a huge impact on an athlete’s ability to compete, risking even further injury. People with mild TBI may also experience memory loss, attention deficit, headaches, mood swings and difficulty problem solving.

Severe TBI

Severe TBI can be devastating. This is what many people know as “punch drunk”. A person with severe TBI may experience slurred speech, difficulty with motor function and may need long-term rehabilitation and care to live a normal life. Severe TBI can be as bad as Alzheimer’s, only rather than taking decades it can happen within a short career in contacts sports. In the worst case scenario, an individual can experience paralysis, a serious degenerative brain condition and even death.


Kansas City Chief’s linebacker Jovan Belcher’s autopsy has revealed that he had signs of the degenerative brain disease CTE at the time of his suicide (and the murder of his girlfriend) at the age of just 22. The disease is characterized as a progressive death of brain cells due to head trauma. Tangles of tau protein were found throughout Belcher’s hippocampus. We can’t touch on this topic without mentioning the bizarre case of  Junior Seau. Chris Borland, another NFL star for the 49ers, has taken the decision to retire at just 24, it may be that he is experiencing the same condition.

Hypoxic Brain Injury

This is when the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen and cannot make use of glucose as a result of cerebral anoxia. When cerebral anoxia occurs the individual can lose consciousness within 15 seconds and experience irreversible hypoxic brain injury as a result. This is type of damage can be experienced by someone who has been choked-out with a rear-naked-choke in MMA, and those who are knocked out.

Lactate Build-up Through Rigorous Exercise .

Though glucose is thought of as the main source of energy for the brain, recent research has shown the neurons of mammalian species preferentially metabolises lactate, not glucose during physical activity. The lactate goes into the neurons and into the mitochondria to give the brain energy. However, a build-up of lactate can cause Alzheimer’s-like symptoms, even in young people.

The are also numerous other conditions connected to these types of brain injuries. A possible side effect worth mentioning is a loss of energy, when your brain is in a constant state of repair, your body is having to provide energy for your brain to recover. This may cause your body to lose energy elsewhere. This may mean that normal activity may become difficult, if not impossible.

So, how does brain injury happen and can it be prevented?

The simple answer is the only way to avoid brain injury is to avoid contact sports altogether. However careful one may be, there’s no sure fire way to come out of a career in contact sports totally unscathed. The biggest factor for most is the taking of repeated blows to the head. Head trauma can also occur if someone is frequently tacked to the ground. If you’re someone who is experiencing this on a regular basis, you should definitely consider not pursuing a career in contact sports. Although the scrappy boxer that shows a lot of heart to comeback from a knockdown may be a sporting legend, and may be very entertaining to watch, the damage that’s going on inside his brain is almost incalculable. Nobody thinks brain injury is going to happen to them until it does and when it does it’s often irreversible and your life-outcome may be drastically altered for the worse.

The only way to mitigate the damage outside of not competing; is to know when to quit. That includes knowing when to give yourself time away from the sport as well as knowing when to give up entirely. It’s a very serious issue, one only has to look at recent suicides in the NFL to realize just how serious it is.

Anyone who’s thinking of a career in contact sports should ensure they have a back-up plan, something to fall back on should their plans go awry. Don’t be the guy (or girl) competing for far too long because they don’t know how to do anything else, and definitely don’t be the guy fighting in unlicensed MMA bouts without a doctor on standby and any hope of making a good living out of sport.

Whatever you decide, educate yourself and make sure you fully know the risks before making any decisions which could ruin lives, not only your own, but the lives of people who may be relying on you to stay healthy.

Also, if you’re going to compete, spare no expense & wear the best protective equipment (custom mouthguards and helmets especially)

If you’re still set on a career in sport, heed the words of Chris Borland “I just want to live a long, healthy life, and I don’t want to have any neurological diseases or die younger than I would otherwise.”

He is one of the few people who knew when to get out.

does botox help stop teeth grindng

Can Botox Stop My Teeth Grinding?

Recent research suggests Botox for teeth decreases bone density in the jaw. More on this can be found here: https://sentinelmouthguards.com/botox-teeth-grinding-not-good-idea/

Botox for Teeth Grinding and TMJ

Botox injections for teeth grinding – or bruxism, the unconscious clenching and grinding of the teeth that takes place during the night (or while you are asleep) – has been a fairly recent and seemingly successful alternative therapy for persons suffering from teeth grinding at night.

Bruxism affects an estimated 1 in 12 adults and has the following symptoms:

• Severely chipped or worn teeth

• Higher cases of root canal

• Grinding noise and problems when eating

• Swollen gums, or retreated gums without having a gum disease

• Sore jaw muscles, especially in the morning

• Damaged tongue, or chewed inner-area of the cheek

• Facial pain

• A face that appears shortened between the chin and nose, and/or an enlarged masseter muscle which makes the jaw look bigger (think Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story)

The pressure on your teeth during grinding can be a significant amount more than the force you use during normal biting and chewing during the day (it can up to 130% harder at night).

Due to this, your incisors can become shorter – with tiny chip marks and sharp edges, and your canines can be covered with cuts.

This type of damage is a slow process, but a huge expense to fix (and worth avoiding). A reality that may happen in the shorter term can include tiny fracture lines that make the teeth more susceptible to damage, loose teeth and/or loose dental work.

Treatment for bruxism and TMJ has been approached with a wide range of “solutions”. The most common recommendation is the use of a custom made mouthguard. This is great for preventing any further damage and easing headaches/facial pain.

But what about making strides to stop it altogether?

Botox injections, mostly associated with cosmetic processes and procedures, are gradually being used as a method of keeping TMJ and Bruxism under control.

How does Botox work?

Quick answer: It blocks nerve signals to the muscles, thus relaxing them.

Botox is a relatively new treatment method that is provided to patients, correcting their underlying problem: forcefully contracting their muscles.

It is normally injected into three of the major muscles that cause teeth grinding; temporalis, masseter, and the lateral pyterygoid muscle.

It relaxes these muscles and (conceivably) prevents teeth grinding during the sleep. Botox doesn’t affect chewing, talking or eating. Most patients experience a decrease of most or all of their symptoms from Bruxism and TMJ 1 or 2 weeks after the injection. A Botox injection is then effective in this case for 4 to 6 months.

Botox, a simple and short (15-20 Minute) procedure, can prevent unnecessary teeth grinding and clenching, facilitate better quality and healthy sleep, prevent damage to the teeth, stop pain and headaches, and even improve the quality of your life altogether.

Teeth grinding occurs due to clenched jaw muscles. This is what Botox lessens; the ability of your muscles to clench tightly, thus decreasing the amount of grinding that can occur.

where is botox injected for teeth grinding?

Where do the Botox injections go?

Quick answer: Treatment areas typically include the temporalis, lateral pyterygoid, and the masseter.

Botox injections should be performed by qualified Botox injectors. Make sure your practitioner is highly knowledgeable of execution, aesthetics and function.
Specialists warn not to massage your jaw right after having Botox injections. Also avoid excessive chocolate, caffeine, sugar, soda and other foods that can make you feel jittery and stressed.

“Is it painful?”

Botox injections can be mildly uncomfortable. Pain thresholds vary from patient to patient, but it can be equated to the feeling of a mild bug bite.

botox reduces size of masseter muscle

“Is it going to make my face look weird?”

The success of Botox has been determined so far in small studies only. Less than 10% of participants in these studies did notice a cosmetic change in their smile in the short term.

Oppositely, a long-term advantage to look forward to (if you have an enlarged masseter muscle due to teeth grinding or jaw clenching) is the shrinking of this muscle.

This gives the face a more relaxed and natural appearance. The injections help decrease the strength of the muscles as well as reduce the size of the masseter muscle; possibly resulting in a more narrow jaw-line.

The masseter muscle is often injected with 25 to 35 units of Botox, but the number of units used does vary from patient to patient. Within a few weeks to a few months, your muscles become smaller and softer, and your jaw-line decreases in size.

“Is Botox a permanent fix? How often do I have to repeat treatment?”

Receiving Botox is not a one time “fix-all” solution. Treatment is normally repeated after every four to six months.

How much does it cost?

The cost of receiving Botox injections spans widely depending on location, types of practicing professionals administering Botox, and the qualifications of practicing professionals. A typical average is $200-$300 per session.

The Benefits of Botox treatment

• No need for expensive or invasive surgery

• A great deal of pain relief

• The process presents minimal side effects

• It leads to a thinner, as well as more attractive jaw-line

• The procedure is minimally invasive. You can be treated over your lunch break!

The Disadvantages of Botox treatment

Although it is highly effective, Botox treatment has the following disadvantages:

• It does not last long (4 to 6 months)

• There is a chance of getting bruising, especially if you are injected around the mouth

• Each patient has a unique dosage – dosage needs to be customized according to your anatomy.

A Final Note:

Can Botox Stop My Teeth Grinding?

If you have been treating your TMJ and Bruxism disorder with ordinary mouth guards as well as other measures without any effect, you should try Botox.

The verdict so far has been favorable among study groups tested. Most doctors agree to its benefits. To be successful, it is vital for your doctor to use the right injection technique and follow the recommended dosage guidelines.