Surely you have heard more than one person say that they have bruxism or that they clench their teeth. While this unconscious behaviour in isolated cases can be due to moments of tension, when it becomes a tendency, it can cause damage to the jaw.
Bruxism includes all those daily or nocturnal oral parafunctional activities that involve clenching and grinding the teeth and biting. Squeezing objects between the teeth where there is intimate oral contact is also considered bruxism.
There are 4 types of bruxism such as stress bruxism, sleep bruxism, post apnea episode bruxism and bruxism as motor behavior. For example, sleep bruxism affects 7-8% of the population, although it is believed that it can affect more people without they even being aware of it.
There are some signs that can make you think that you suffer from some type of bruxism, such as:
- Pain in the facial area.
- Increased sensitivity in the teeth, these teeth being able to wear down and even get lost.
- Problems in the temporomandibular joint that can include tension and pain in the jaw with some stiffness and movement problems.
- Ear pain that may be reflex or secondary.
- Headache or migraines.
- Sleep disturbance.
- Vertigo and dizziness.
- Anxiety and depression.
Kids can also suffer from it, even 3 years old, although usually it stabilizes progressively when they reach adulthood and as the years go by, it is reduced.
Consequences of bruxism
After a while of no-treatment, bruxism can cause alterations in the oral cavity and certain problems, such as:
- Signs of bites inside the oral cavity and tongue.
- Wear of the surface of the teeth, with fractures of the teeth in the most severe cases.
- Gingival recessions.
- Breakage of fillings.
- Bone growth in the area of the jaws, of a benign type, but uncomfortable when swallowing or speaking.
- Pain in the facial and cervical muscles due to overload by the force exerted.
Treatment of bruxism
- Splints and mouth guards: They are designed to keep your teeth apart to prevent damage caused by clenching or grinding your teeth. They can be made of hard acrylic or soft materials to fit the upper and lower teeth.
- Tooth correction: In severe cases—when tooth wear has caused sensitivity or an inability to chew properly—it may needed to reshape the teeth’s chewing surfaces or place crowns to repair the damage.
- Control of stress or anxiety: If you grind your teeth due to stress, you may be able to prevent the problem by learning strategies that promote relaxation, such as meditation. If your bruxism is related to anxiety, it may help to get advice from a licensed therapist or counselor.
- Changes in behavior: Once you discover that you have bruxism, you can modify that behavior by practicing correct mouth and jaw position. Ask us and we will show you the best position for your mouth and jaw.
- Biofeedback: If you find it very difficult to change your habits, you may benefit from biofeedback, a method that uses monitoring procedures and equipment to teach you how to control jaw muscle activity.
Do you want more information or have any doubts left? Contact us here and we will happily help you.