Management of a Child With Autism and Severe Bruxism: A Case Report

J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2008 Jun;26(2):82-4. doi: 10.4103/0970-4388.41623.


Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by severe deficits in social interaction and communication. A wide spectrum of medical and behavioral symptoms is exhibited by children with autism, which makes routine dental care very difficult in them. Bruxism or forceful grinding of teeth is one of the sleep problems commonly observed in children with autism. Our patient, a 4-year-old male child with autism, presented with complaints of pain and sensitivity of the teeth. There was history of excessive grinding and clenching of teeth. Limited oral examination revealed severe attrition of all primary teeth. Treatment was planned under general anesthesia because of his poor cognitive abilities. Full-mouth rehabilitation, including placement of stainless steel crowns for all primary molars, was done. Following treatment there was a significant decrease in the grinding habit over the next 2 months. Although the communication and behavioral problems in children with autism pose challenges for the dentist, treatment with proper planning and a lot of patience can definitely make a difference.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / complications*
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology
  • Autistic Disorder / therapy
  • Bruxism / complications
  • Bruxism / pathology
  • Bruxism / psychology
  • Bruxism / therapy*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Crowns*
  • Dental Care for Children / methods*
  • Dental Care for Chronically Ill / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Tooth Attrition / etiology
  • Tooth Attrition / pathology
  • Tooth Attrition / psychology
  • Tooth Attrition / therapy*
  • Tooth, Deciduous / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome