Bruxism is a condition characterized by the forcing, rubbing and grinding of teeth, both during sleep and during the day.
This condition can be extremely uncomfortable and can cause a range of dental problems such as enamel erosion, tooth loss and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. There are a number of factors that can cause bruxism, including physiological and psychological factors.
Teeth grinding, most often occurring involuntarily, without the person concerned realizing, is called bruxism.
This harmful habit can occur both during the day and at night.
Experts warn that this parafunctional habit affects millions of people worldwide.
As a chronic habit that often persists for life if left untreated, bruxism can cause irreversible changes to the temporomandibular joint, teeth and muscles.
Nocturnal bruxism may only be noticed by the patient sometimes in the morning, when waking up with a headache.
On the other hand, daytime bruxism is associated with certain stress conditions, which cause muscle tension.
At night, the patient often rubs his teeth together, whereas during the day, the movement may be replaced by a tightening of the muscles, with clenching of the jaw.
The symptoms of bruxism are as follows:
Rhythmic muscle contractions
Tense muscles, causing pain when opening the mouth
Diffuse facial pain, making it difficult to pinpoint a specific location
Abraded teeth or fractured fillings
People whose partners suffer from bruxism may perceive specific grinding sounds made by them during the night.
To establish a diagnosis of bruxism, your doctor will start by asking you various questions that suggest this parafunction.
Headaches, widespread, diffuse facial pain, to the exclusion of any other point of origin, limitation of mouth opening, are signs that lead to this diagnosis.
The next step will be examination of the oral cavity. The teeth, in general, in bruxomania patients, are uniformly abraded.
Enamel thickness is low and the dentin may show through in direct proportion to the amount of enamel lost.
In advanced stages, when considerable amounts of hard tissue are lost, sensitivity of the teeth to hot and cold may occur. By restoring the morphology of the teeth, the sensitivity is removed but not the bruxism, as the fillings are again destroyed by this parafunction.
The treatment of bruxism depends on the cause that triggers it.
Stress – when bruxism is closely related to stress, the dentist may recommend psychological counselling to find strategies to combat this harmful habit and help the patient relax.
Myorelaxant drugs also help to relax the muscles. They temporarily reduce muscle spasm. However, this is a temporary solution, as doctors want to remove the cause, not reduce the intensity of the symptoms.
The condition of the dental arches – premature contacts, interferences caused by misaligned teeth or fillings and incorrectly fitted prosthetic work can all be causes of bruxism in the oral cavity.
The condition of the dental arches should be reassessed and occlusion ratios modified by conservative dental or orthodontic treatment.
Muscle damage – if these problems cannot be resolved by medication or conservative therapies, the doctor may recommend injecting botulinum toxin into the muscles to counteract bruxism.
Medication – antidepressant medication can cause bruxism, and this should be discussed with the prescribing doctor with a view to replacing it with one with minimal side effects.
Bruxism is an increasingly common parafunction among patients. Diagnosed early, side effects are minimized and the patient’s quality of life is greatly improved.
Physiological factors that may contribute to the development of bruxism include muscle tension and problems with tooth alignment.
When the jaw muscles are tense, there is increased pressure on the teeth, which can lead to grinding and grinding.
Also, if there are problems aligning the teeth, they may be under greater pressure, which can cause bruxism.
Psychological factors may also be involved in the development of bruxism. Stress and anxiety are two of the most common psychological causes of bruxism.
People who are exposed to high stress may develop bruxism as a way of releasing accumulated tension in the facial and jaw muscles. People suffering from anxiety may also be prone to bruxism, as this condition can lead to muscle tension and increased pressure on the teeth.
Some medications can also cause bruxism as a side effect. These include antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs and drugs for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. These drugs can disrupt the central nervous system, which can lead to the development of bruxism.
There are also some medical conditions that can be associated with bruxism. These include sleep apnea syndrome and Parkinson’s disease. In sleep apnea, the patient may wake up during the night, whether conscious or not, which can cause muscle tension and bruxism.
Finally, it is important to note that the determinants of bruxism may be different for each individual.
It is important to consider all factors, both physiological and psychological, and to identify the exact causes of this condition so that it can be treated appropriately.
If bruxism is caused by psychological factors, psychological therapy or pharmacotherapy may be required to treat the underlying causes of the condition.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychological therapy that can be effective in treating bruxism caused by stress and anxiety. CBT can help the patient learn ways to cope with stress and anxiety, as well as muscle relaxation techniques to reduce muscle tension and prevent bruxism.
If bruxism is caused by physiological factors, dental therapy may be needed to correct tooth alignment problems or reduce muscle tension.
Treatment options include the use of a denture (occlusal splint), which can be worn at night to protect teeth and reduce grinding and grinding.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct tooth alignment problems or to remove muscle tension.
In summary, bruxism is a common condition that can be caused by a variety of factors, including physiological and psychological factors.
It is important to identify the underlying causes of this condition so that it can be treated appropriately.
Depending on the individual causes and symptoms of bruxism, dental treatments, psychological therapy or pharmacotherapy may be required to reduce muscle tension, prevent rubbing and grinding of the teeth and reduce the pain and discomfort associated with the condition.