WHAT IS BRUXISM?
Bruxism is the term that refers to an incessant grinding and clenching of the teeth, unintentionally, and at inappropriate times. Bruxers (persons with bruxism) are often unaware 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. Damage caused by bruxism often includes the following symptoms. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.
Symptoms may include:
- Abraded teeth
- Facial pain
- Oversensitive teeth
- Tense facial and jaw muscles
- Dislocation of the jaw
- Damage to the tooth enamel, exposing the inside of the tooth (dentin)
- A popping or clicking in the TemporoMandibular Joint (TMJ)
- Tongue indentations
- Damage to the inside of the cheek
The symptoms of bruxism may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult a dentist or your physician for a diagnosis.
WHAT CAUSES BRUXISM?
Although this habit is unintentional, oral health specialists often point to excessive stress and certain personality types as typical causes of bruxism. Bruxism often affects persons with nervous tension such as anger, pain, or frustration, and/or persons with aggressive, hurried, or overly-competitive tendencies.
TREATMENT FOR BRUXISM:
Treatment may involve:
- Behavior modification
- Night Guard – A specially-fitted plastic mouth appliance may be worn at night to absorb the force of biting. This appliance may help to prevent future damage to the teeth.
- Biofeedback -Biofeedback involves an electronic instrument that measures the amount of muscle activity of the mouth and jaw — indicating to the patient when too much muscle activity is taking place so that the behavior can be changed. This is especially helpful for daytime bruxers.