What is bruxism exactly?
Bruxism is most commonly known as the activity of grinding or clenching your own teeth. It’s so common in the United States that more that 30 million people suffers from it. So today I’m going to try to cover all the basis of this condition and how to treat it.
Some of the most common signs of bruxism are rhythmic contractions of the jaw muscles, grinding sound at night when sleeping, pain in the jaw muscles. Other symptoms include pain in the face too, swelling caused by clenching. If you wake up after a night’s sleep with sore teeth and jaws it is a sign that you may be grinding your teeth. Grinding your teeth is usually done unconsciously in your sleep, but it can also occur during the day.
And this can happens while you are concentrating on a task. There is a chance that the condition is associated with tasks that involve lifting heavy objects, driving, reading and even writing.
Other symptoms of bruxism are headaches. According to the Bruxism Association, people who grind their teeth are 3 times more likely to suffer from headaches. Bruxism also can cause muscle aches, enlargement of some facial muscles, general discomfort and stiffness in neck and shoulders.
Grinding your teeth together can also lead so severe ear pain and sleep disorders. Eventually the teeth results so affected by it that can show abnormal wear and mobility, which can cause fracture and loss of teeth in the worst case scenario.
What causes bruxism?
There are many diseases and disorders that can cause that a person develop this condition. Some of the causes are stress, anxiety, smoking and heavy alcohol habits. Other causes are more linked to caffeine, depression and sleep disorders. Again, according to the Bruxism Association there is not enough evidence to directly support any cause.
Researchers has found that bruxism is more frequently seen in patients who snore or suffer from apnea and in people with an unhealthy lifestyle that includes smoking, drinking alcohol and caffeine in excess.
More than 70% percent of people with bruxism also suffer from some sort of anxiety. Stress can also be a huge factor, especially in people with stressful work environment.
How to treat bruxism
To stop bruxism on its feet we have to see what the cause is first. It is very helpful to consult with a dentist and undergo a comprehensive exam to develop a treatment plan that is specialized for you case. Here in Dental Solutions Los Algodones we are pretty good at that!
One of the best ways to protect your teeth and prevent any damage is to use occlusal appliance. You will find them with different names in the market, such as occlusal splints, occlusal bite guards, night guards, bite plates and bruxism appliances. These are great because they are custom made to fit over your top or bottom teeth.
Wearing these appliances helps to reduce jaw muscle pain immensely and protect both your teeth and temporomandibular joint too! The best part of the appliances is that you use them at bedtime, so that makes them the treatment of choice for most patients.
Other treatment includes therapy to reduce anxiety and stress. Relaxation techniques, meditation and psychoanalysis have proven to be really helpful to manage this condition. Other treatment more experimental as hypnosis has also been found to be helpful for some patients.
But the most important tip of all is to have a lot of patience. Many people feel despair and agony to deal with bruxism to the point they can feel very frustrated. If you or any close relative suffers from bruxism just be aware that they might be dealing with a bad time in their lives and just offer them your care and comprehension.