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bruxism, tooth grinding
Bruxism refers to involuntary tooth-grinding by a sleeping child. It is one of the charming parasomnias, neurologically based disturbances of normal nighttime sleep. It is very common; up to 88% of children are said to exhibit it at one time or another. It during all stages of sleep. There seem to be many causes, and the condition is somewhat familial. There is no universally accepted treatment.
It is ordinarily harmless (but certainly distracting for the parents in the night), and usually does no permanent dental harm. Rarely the grinding and clenching of the jaw is forceful enough to damage the teeth. Dental appliances are used in these cases to protect the teeth.