Bruxism is a condition in which people, unconsciously; tend to clench, grind or gnash their teeth together during the day or at night while they sleep. This is very damaging to the teeth since it makes them wear out from the tight front to back movement of the upper and lower zones.
As it was already mentioned, the wear of the teeth is one of the problems caused by bruxism, but there are many other difficulties that this disorder can cause, such as:
– Dental sensitivity to sweet, cold and hot food
– Jaw pain
– Ear pain
If you present any of these symptoms, you should visit your dentist and check if bruxism is the cause and seek treatment for it. Many people who have this condition don’t know it yet because they don’t present any of the things mentioned before, some of them can be suspicious of having it due to a constant ache in their face or neck or because someone else has heard them doing noises while sleeping. The best way to confirm if you suffer from bruxism is through a dental check and a radiographic study done by a specialist.
Bruxism might not lead to serious complications, but in severe cases, it can cause great permanent damage to your teeth and jaw, long-term facial pain and disorders in the temporomandibular joints.
What causes bruxism?
Doctors are not completely sure yet of what causes this condition, but these are some of the physical and psychological factors that are believed to be the reason for the development of this disorder.
– Stress, anxiety, tension
– Bad sleeping habits
– Bad alignment of teeth
– An incorrect posture
– Resultant complications from Huntington’s or Parkinson’s disease
Every person can present a different case, so the causes of bruxism can change depending on the situation.
There are some factors that can raise the risk of suffering from bruxism such as:
– Suffering from stress, anxiety, anger, frustration or any other feeling of tension that can lead to teeth grinding.
– Being hyperactive, competitive or having any other type of aggressive personality.
– Drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages, smoking tobacco or consuming drugs as methamphetamine or ecstasy. The consumption of stimulating substances, in general, can increase the risk of having bruxism.
– Age can also be a risk factor as bruxism can be common in young children, but in most cases, it goes away as they grow up.
Since every case is different, some people may not need treatment to outgrow bruxism, or as in the case of young children, the problem can go away without any intervention. But in a severe situation, a perform of dental treatments can be required, medications like muscle relaxants or therapies to manage the feelings of tension may be some of the options.
Mouth guards can be recommended to keep teeth separated and avoid their wear, even though this option does not stop bruxism, it treats one of their principal problems. Methods as dental correction and the use of braces could stop the condition when it seems to be caused by a wrong alignment of the teeth.
In the case of medications, they are not believed to be very effective to stop bruxism, but some doctors can suggest using muscle relaxants before going to sleep for only a short period of time. In other scenarios, when the reason of bruxism is stress, a therapy to learn how to manage it can be very helpful. Also, a behavior therapy to learn and practice proper mouth and jaw position can be recommended.