Bruxism- An Overview

Bruxism- An Overview

Teeth grinding or clenching of the teeth is called Bruxism and is not harmful if it is occasional. But regular occurrence can cause damage to the teeth and serious oral health complications can arise.

Reason of Bruxism

The teeth grinding is caused by stress and anxiety and occurs during sleep. But it can also occur due to an abnormality in a bite or due to a crooked or missing tooth. It can also be caused due to a sleep disorder called Sleep Apnea. If it occurs regularly, then you must Visit Your Dentist and get the reasons diagnosed. More factors that cause teeth grinding can be:

  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Sleep Disorder– If you have obstructive sleep apnea, talk or mumble or behave violently while sleeping or if you face sleep paralysis or hallucinate, you are more likely grinding your teeth.
  • Medicines– It can be a side effect of certain medicines especially antidepressant tablets.
  • Lifestyle– Certain factors that can further worsen the case like:
  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Using of Drugs like Cocaine
  • Having overdose of caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee.

How to identify the problem

Grinding or clenching of the teeth occurs during the night and an individual can’t find out if he/she does it. But your loved ones or your partner can find out and let you know if there is a problem. However, other symptoms help you find the need to visit a dentist like:

  • Headaches, especially after you wake up
  • Earache also after you wake up
  • Facial Pain felt during the sleep when you are unconsciously grinding your teeth
  • Pain and stiffness in the jaw and surrounding muscles due to regular teeth clenching
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Broken teeth or fillings
  • Increased sensitivity due to loss of teeth or a damaged tooth

A timely visit to the dentist before the problem aggravates can help prevent dental abscess or an infection.

Teeth grinding can also affect children. It might continue until the adult teeth come. It primarily is caused due to the presence of pinworms and parasites present in the intestines. But sometimes it can also be caused due to Autism. A Pediatric Dentist should be immediately consulted if the problem is regular in a child.

Treatment of Teeth grinding:

  • There are various treatments prescribed for this problem:
  • Practicing muscle relaxation exercises and maintaining sound sleep hygiene.
  • If it is stress or anxiety-related then your dentist might guide you to a General Physician who can prescribe Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to rectify the problem.
  • Using a Mouthguard or a Mouth splint to reduce sensation and guard the teeth against further wear and tear.

Mouth Guard

It is also called mouth protectors where protection is placed on the jaw that minimizes your risk of broken teeth and other injuries to your face, jaw or mouth. It is typically worn on the upper jaw but can be also made if there is an implant or artificial dentures or braces on the lower jaw. It is made of plastic and is worn at night just before sleeping. It does not stop the grinding or clenching of teeth but simply lessens the damage caused on any tooth.

Nightguard absorbs and diverse the forces exerted by the jaw, and thus protect the tooth enamel. It also relaxes the jaw muscles from constant clenching and relieves facial pain as well.

There are several nightguards that you can choose from:

  • Stock Mouth Guards: Though cheapest yet not best as they are heavy.
  • Dental Made Custom Fit: These are comparatively thinner than the stock guard.
  • No Impression custom Fit.

Whichever guard is chosen it must be replaced time to time to prevent damage in the tooth.

If you are looking for a solution in and around Oshawa, we would recommend visiting Harmony Dental Care under the supervision of Dr Peter Yao for a safe and comfortable dentistry experience for the whole family.

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