Bruxism is a disorder characterized by gnashing, clenching or rubbing the teeth of both dental arches during the night or during the day, consciously or not.
This disorder is similar to some behavioral problems, disorders of the masticatory muscles contraction or even a sleep disorder.
Symptoms and causes
Do you suffer of frequent headaches, earaches or temporomandibular joint pain? Do you have more pronounced tooth sensitivity? Do you feel a masticatory muscle fatigue especially in the morning? Have you ever felt your jaws clenched?
These are just some of the symptoms of bruxism, often present during night sleep and marked by a characteristic grinding sound, often not giving them the necessary importance.
Most often, during a dental examination, you find out that you suffer of bruxism and your dentist informs you if its causes, symptoms and especially what complications may have.
There are two types of bruxism: sleep bruxism (most common) characterized by teeth gnashing accompanied by regular contractions of jaws and the awake bruxism described as a reaction to various stimuli.
Initial signs of bruxism are seen at the dental level: first obvious issues are cracks in the enamel and modification of dental anatomy by blunting the posterior teeth and tooth wear on the frontal teeth, the appearance of slight tooth sensitivity, then pains are occurring in the auricular area caused by problems of the temporomandibular joint, followed by the increasing volume of masseter muscle and headaches.
Causes of bruxism
Precise causes for this disorder are not determined yet, although many studies have been realized on this topic, but bruxism has been associated with several factors:
- Stress, emotions, demanding tasks, tension, pain, anger, frustration, anxiety, agitation, fear, key events, disharmonies in the family, etc .;
- Some drug treatments;
- Aggressive, obsessive, perfectionist people, or those eager to reach a certain goal have a higher tendency to develop bruxism
- Insufficient sleep or bad quality sleep;
- Dental crowding or tooth eruption, with the changing of temporary dentition, disproportionate development of jaw bone, recent fillings or recent dentures that are “high”;
- Partial airway obstruction by adenoids (polyps) or tonsil hypertrophy.
What are the options of treatment recommended for bruxism?
Establishment of treatment plan for bruxism starts from the potential source of the problem. Depending on the degree of dental wear and the potential cause, your dentist may suggest:
- To use a tray type device during sleep. The device is individually made of a plastic material that fits the patient’s teeth and covers the upper teeth to prevent damaging the inferior ones by gritting. The device is designed to control bruxism, but it doesn’t cure permanently.
- Relaxation. Daily stress is a major cause of bruxism, so it is advisable to reduce stress by having relaxing activities. It may be helpful to apply warm and wet compresses to relax the tensed facial muscles.
- Rebalancing occlusal relief to correct the bite. An unbalanced occlusion is when the upper teeth do not overlap correctly over the lower ones and it can be improved using fillings, crown height reduction, orthodontic treatment or dental crowns.