Teeth Grinding — The Bump
Special Needs

Teeth Grinding

DS (ASD) has started to grind his teeth. I feel like grind is an understatement, you can hear it from across the room.  He does it mostly when he is happy or excited which is a good chuck of the day.  He is on winter break from ABA till the 5th but I will talk to the BCBA when he goes back.  He will be 3 next month and has never been to the dentist and I don't know how much he would cooperate at the dentist but I think he needs to be looked at because by the sound of it he has to be damaging his teeth.  Anyone have experiance with teeth grinding? I will love some advice.

Re: Teeth Grinding

  • My oldest used to grind his teeth so badly when he was sleeping.  It would wake me up from across the house.  I asked the dentist about it and she said at his age they didn't do anything about it.  He finally outgrew it and my younger son started doing it soon after.  He doesn't do it as often, but its definitely like nails on a chalkboard!  
  • Both of my older two occasionally ground their teeth when they were getting new teeth in. It's a horrible sound, but unless he's doing it all the time, it probably sounds worse than it is. I would have dentist check it out, but try not to worry too much. Hopefully it's a fleeting phase.
  • DS grinds his teeth when he is sleeping. I have only caught him a few times when I had to turn off his light.

    I do hope it stops as some of you have mentioned.
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  • abigail912abigail912
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    edited December 2014
    Hopefully it is a phase and it sounds worse then it is (it sounds terrible!).  He does not do it in his sleep, he does it while playing, happy, or excited so he does it a lot. He used to play with his ears and make this crazy sound with his throat when he was happy.  He stopped doing those but now flaps his hands and grinds his teeth so I think it is a self stimulatory thing but it sounds awful and makes me worried he is going to grind them to nubs! lol
  • -auntie- said:
    It's OK to redirect or attempt to fade a stim.

    Since the grinding provides significant joint compression, maybe giving him something to chew on would give him the same feedback without damaging his teeth. You could also look into Willbarger for brushing and compresssions.

    Thanks for the suggests.  I have tired a vibrating toothbrush but he didn't seem to like it.  I will see what else I can find and talked to his therapist when we get back from break.  When he was in EI his OT did some brushing and joint compression.  Since he started receiving ABA in a private clinic we switched all of our services over there.  He has ABA, Speech and PT but we have had a gap in OT.  Honestly, I have been dragging my feet on requesting an OT eval because he has been doing so well and his ABA therapists have not mentioned it.  They are the ones who suggest a PT eval and I thought they were crazy, until I went to the eval and saw how behind he was on gross motor skills (mom goggles!).  However, over the last few weeks I am noticing more and more stims and his diet is getting more and more restrictive due texture and temperature  =( So, I will request an OT eval and see what they say. Sorry, for the long reply. This just really got me thinking that he might need to start OT again. 

  • Specifically mention the teeth grinding to his ABA team they may be able to assist as well. 
    DD was/is a chewer with lots of oral stuff going on, we addressed it with OT (use a vibrating toothbrush but had to work up to it first tickling arm with it, then throat, then cheek, then mouth) but we also worked with our ABA team to  extinguish the chewing. We got a chewlery necklace and started by directing her to that when she would chew, once she was consistent with biting on that instead of other things we gradually cut back her access to it.
    She now has it for quiet time and long car rides and certain situations where she may need the input. But she has stopped chewing on inappropriate things so it's been successful for us. 
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    [Deleted User]abigail912
  • Thanks!  I will talked to them and hopefully work out a plan.
  • My daughter started chewing gum at 4, prior to dx. My husband is the type who has to chew gum all day, so we tried it with her. She has it in her IPP at school, she chews gum all day. The dentist noticed she wasn't actually grinding the teeth but moving her jaw back and forthcoming it clicked. I can't imagine the pain or headaches she must have had. We spend a lot of money on gum but it's worth it.
    abigail912
  • Thank you all for your suggestions.
     
  • Worst few months of our life.  The sound drove DH crazy.  And yes, you could hear it clear across rooms and through walls!  Just terrible.  His OT suggested giving him hard pretzels to help out but all he did was lick off the salt.  Eventually he just stopped.  Moved on to another stim.  He still chews things he shouldn't but at least he's not grinding anymore.

    He did it again the other night but I believe it has to do with being out of school for over a week.  I noticed him bringing out other stims as well.  
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