Bruxism - Health Center


By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

Bruxism – Basic Overview

Bruxism is a condition in which the affected person grinds gnashes or clenches their teeth. A person suffering from Bruxism clenches their teeth unconsciously during the day or may grind their teeth during night. This condition is known as sleep bruxism.

Sleep Bruxism is often considered to be a sleep related disorder. People who clench their teeth while sleeping are more prone to suffer from other sleep disorders such as snoring or sleep apnea.

Milder forms of Sleep Bruxism do not require any treatment. However, in some rarer and severe cases, the condition can lead to jaw disorders, headaches or damaged teeth. Due to Sleep Bruxism, people may develop complications in the later stages. 

Causes of Bruxism:

Researchers and doctors are not able to determine the real cause of Bruxism. However, some of the major psychological and physical causes for the condition are as follows:

  •       Emotional stress, anxiety, anger, frustration and tension
  •       Different kinds of personality such as aggressive, competitive and hyperactive
  •       Malocclusion : The abnormal alignment of the upper and lower teeth
  •       Sleep problems such as snoring or sleep apnea
  •       Response to the pain caused due to teething or earache amongst children
  •       Acid Reflux into the oesophagus
  •       Side effects caused due to psychiatric medications such as phenothiazines and antidepressants
  •       Complications arising due to any disorder such as Huntington’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. 

Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism:

The following are the major signs and symptoms of Bruxism:

  1.       Grinding and clenching of the teeth
  2.       Flattened, fractured, chipped or loose teeth
  3.       Worn out tooth enamel
  4.       Increased sensitivity of the teeth
  5.       Pain or soreness in the jaw or face
  6.       Tight or tired jaw muscles
  7.       Dull headaches

It is recommended to visit your dentist if your teeth are worn out and are damaged. Also, if you develop pain in the jaw or face or have a locked jaw, it is recommended to seek immediate medical attention. 

Treatment and Drugs for Bruxism:

In most cases of Bruxism, no treatment is needed for the disorder. Children often outgrow from this condition and adults generally do not need any corrective therapy. However, in some cases treatment and other approaches may be necessary.

Dental Approaches:

If your child is suffering from Bruxism, the doctor can suggest ways in order to preserve or improve the teeth. Mouth guards are used in order to keep the teeth apart in order to avoid the damage which is caused due to clenching or grinding. This guard fits over the upper or the lower teeth and is made of a soft material.

Dental Correction: Correcting the alignment of the teeth helps with Bruxism. The doctor may reshape your teeth or use crowns. In some cases, braces or oral surgery is recommended.

Medications aren’t very effective for the treatment of Bruxism. Certain medications used for Bruxism are as follows:

Muscle Relaxants: In certain cases, doctors can use a muscle relaxant before sleeping.

Onabotulinumtoxin A (Botox) Injections: Botox Injections tend to help some people with several bruxisms in case they are not responding to other treatment options. 

Tests and Diagnosis of Bruxism:

With the regular dental exams, Bruxism can be easily diagnosed. If your dentist suspects you to be suffering from Bruxism, the doctor checks the signs for the progression of the disease and determines the treatment for the condition accordingly.

In order to check out the extent of the disease, the doctor may check the person for the following:

  •       Signs of tenderness of the jaw muscles
  •       Signs of dental abnormalities, like broken or missing teeth
  •       Damage done to the teeth and the inside of the cheeks

With the dental exam, the doctor will be able to determine the presence of other disorders which may be causing jaw or ear pain. If a psychological component is found, then the patient is referred to a sleep specialist, a therapist or a counsellor for further treatment.

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