Bruxism : Dr Sheril
Have you ever wake up from a night’s sleep with sore teeth and jaws? You could be grinding your teeth. Grinding your teeth is known as bruxism.
Bruxism is when a person grinds their teeth while not chewing. The teeth grind or rub together as the jaw moves forcefully either from side to side or back and forth. Often, the person is not aware that they are doing it.
Teeth clenching is when a person holds their teeth together and clenches the muscles, but without moving the teeth back and forth.
This rhythmic clenching of the jaws and grinding of the teeth may develop at any age.
Teeth grinding is usually done unconsciously in your sleep, but it can also occur when you are awake. During the day, a person who is concentrating on a task will often place his teeth together and apply force through a contraction of the jaw muscles. This is commonly associated with the daytime tasks of lifting heavy objects, driving, reading and writing. During sleep, it presents as clenching and rhythmic contractions but this sleep-related bruxism poses a bigger challenge because it is harder to control.
The cause of bruxism remains unclear, but several factors may be involved. Stress, anxiety, smoking, heavy alcohol, caffeine, depression and sleep disorders are all possible causes of teeth grinding. There is, however, little evidence to directly support any cause.
It has been found that 70 percent of people clench and grind their teeth as a result of stress and anxiety. Some research has shown a possible link between teeth grinding and a stressful work environment.
In dental point of view, grinding can wear down the teeth, which can become short, blunt, or fractured. Clenching puts pressure on the muscles, tissues, and other structures around the jaw.
This can lead to jaw pain and stiffness, sore gums, sensitive, loose or broken teeth, clicking or popping of jaw joints and a dull headache.
Earache can occur, partly because the structures of the temporomandibular joint are close to the ear canal. There may also be referral pain, in which a person feels pain in a different location to its source.
Excessive bruxism can damage the occlusal surfaces of the teeth, particularly the molars. It may contribute to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.
Some people clench or grind their teeth without having symptoms.
So how can you stop clenching or grinding your teeth? It depends on the cause. Is it due to a sleep disorder, lifestyle factors or stress and anxiety?
The best way to protect your teeth and prevent tooth wear and fracture is to wear an occlusal appliance. These appliances have different names, including occlusal splints, occlusal bite guards, night guards, bite plates and bruxism appliances.
These are custom made, specially fitted plastic mouth pieces that fit over your top or bottom teeth. Wearing one of these appliances will reduce jaw muscle pain and protect both your teeth and temporomandibular joint. The appliances are usually worn at bedtime and are considered the treatment of choice.
Therefore, it is important to have your dentist evaluate you with a comprehensive examination and develop a treatment plan that is specialized for you.
Do call us for further information or enquiry if you are experiencing and facing similar condition.
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Have a nice day!