What is bruxism?
Bruxism is also known as teeth grinding. The origin comes from a Greek word meaning “gnashing of teeth”.
Studies have shown that teeth grinding affects around 15% of the population.
What are the symptoms of bruxism?
- During the day, a person may involuntary clench their teeth. This behaviour is involuntary and unconscious. The consequences include dental abrasion and one or more cracked and sore teeth.
- If it happens during the night, the person will wake up feeling pain in the lower and upper jaw. Usually, family members hear the teeth grinding while the person is sleeping. He or she will be completely unaware of this situation.
- Unexplained pain in the face, neck, and mandible combined with a headache.
What causes bruxism?
Stress and negative emotions associated with the misalignment of teeth can cause teeth grinding. This disease can also be related to psychological disorders difficult to diagnose.
What are the consequences?
- If the inner mouth muscles are under pressure, the excessive constant contraction will interfere with the normal performance of the ears, neck, and shoulders.
- The jaws will also be negatively affected. You may experience some difficulties when opening or closing your mouth.
- Gum inflammation may occur and teeth mobility could be the result: teeth start to get loose. In the long term, ligament distension can occur and the devices that are connected to the gums and mandible may gain mobility, which, in extreme cases, will cause the dental devices fall out.
- Teeth will get smaller due to the abnormal abrasion. The incisors will be less visible because of the missing enamel.
- It may cause TMJ problems (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder).
What is the treatment?
- The patient should be assessed by a dentist to identify the problem and treatment.
- Looking for ways to relieve your tension could prove to be excellent therapy. Thus, try to read a book, go for a walk, do sports, or listen to music. The person should relax by doing enjoyable activities.
- There are treatments based on anti-anxiety medication associated with relaxing techniques.
- Acrylic and colourless mouth guards are used to sleep at night. These mouth guards or plaques can also be made of soft flexible silicone.
Why are mouth guards used?
Mouth guards prevent the abrasion of teeth and support the mandible to prevent it from pressuring the joints. They are recommended for patients diagnosed with bruxism.
This device prevents teeth abrasion, fractures, and damage. It also prevents headaches and toothaches, but it is not a treatment for bruxism.
The mouth guard will only soothe the consequences of teeth grinding, preventing more damage, but it is not advisable for treating or eliminating the disease.