Bruxism or Teeth Grinding – Dental Care

Normal Teeth
Bruxism or Teeth Grinding

Bruxism or Teeth Grinding refers to persistent grinding and clenching of the teeth, inadvertently, and at wrong times. Bruxers (individuals with bruxism) are often ignorant that they have developed this habit, and often do not know that treatment is available until damage to the mouth and teeth have been done.

Types of Bruxism or Teeth Grinding

Bruxism is classified frequently as either:

  • Awake Bruxism. Patient regularly clench teeth and jaw when awake
  • Sleep Bruxism. Patient subconsciously grinds teeth and squeezes your jaw muscles in sleep. Partners may take notice of the grinding or clenching, which can be noisy.
  • Primary Bruxism.  It occurs without any underlying medical condition
  • Secondary Bruxism. It is caused by another condition such as depression or anxiety, medication such as antidepressants or drugs.

    Tooth Grinding

Causes of Bruxism or Teeth Grinding

Bruxism or Teeth Grinding can be caused not just by stress and anxiety but also by sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked. Bruxism often affects persons with nervous tension such as anger, pain, or frustration, and/or persons with aggressive, hurried, or overly competitive tendencies.

Although in adults teeth grinding is often the result of stress, the same is not always correct with children. Other possible causes of teeth grinding in children include:

  • Irritation in the mouth
  • Allergies
  • Misaligned teeth
Bruxism or Teeth Grinding

Symptoms of Bruxism or Teeth Grinding

The symptoms of teeth grinding include following:-

  • Dull headaches
  • Jaw soreness
  • Teeth that are painful or loose
  • Fractured teeth
  • Abraded teeth
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Facial pain
  • Overly sensitive teeth
  • Tense facial and jaw muscles
  • Headaches
  • Dislocation of the jaw
  • Wearing away of the tooth enamel, exposing the underlying dentin (inside of the tooth)
  • A popping or clicking in the temporomandibular joint
  • Tongue indentations
  • Damage to the inside of the cheek

Diagnosis of Bruxism or Teeth Grinding

The teeth are examined for evidence of Bruxism, it is often pointed out by the tips of the teeth appearing flat. If signs and symptoms are present, the condition will be monitored for changes over the several subsequent visits before a treatment program is established.

Treatment of Bruxism or Teeth Grinding

Mouth Guard for Bruxism
  • Behavior Adjustment
    Educating the patient how to rest his/her tongue, teeth, and lips properly, and training how to rest the tongue upward may ease discomfort on the jaw while keeping the teeth apart and lips closed.
  • Mouthguard
    An especially built-in plastic mouth appliance may be worn at night to absorb the power of biting. This appliance may be of assistance to prevent future damage to the teeth and assist in changing the patient’s behavior.
  • Biofeedback
    Biofeedback involves an electronic instrument that measures the amount of muscle activity of the mouth and jaw. It  indicates the patient when too much muscle activity is taking place so that the behavior can be changed. This is especially helpful for daytime bruxers.
  • Botox.  It weakens the muscle enough to reduce the effects of grinding and clenching, but not so much as to prevent proper use of the muscle. Botox treatment typically involves five or six injections into the masseter muscles. It takes a few minutes per side, and the patient starts feeling the effects the next day
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