Bruxism is the medical term for subconscious grinding of teeth. All of us grind our teeth with or without our knowledge. But when it become severe, the teeth would undergo wear and tear, causing the enamel to erode. It includes the forceful grating of teeth as well as clenching of the jaws.
Bruxism is a parafunctional activity and is one of the main symptoms of sleep apnea. The grinding of the teeth can either be sideways or back and forth, which eventually cause wear of the biting surface.
Why is it important to treat bruxism?
- Bruxism can erode the surface of the teeth, which affects the chewing ability and also causes hypersensitivity in the teeth.
- Constant clenching of the jaws can lead to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD). This can apply a lot of stress on the TMJ.
- It can give rise to unexplained and persistent headaches.
- In extreme cases of bruxism, the teeth may crack. Sometimes, it can cause the teeth to loosen from their sockets, leading to tooth loss.
When the teeth wear excessively, they may be worn down to the stumps. This would require dental crowns or bonding to restore them to their original shape and contour. It could also lead to chronic pain in the muscles of the jaws.
Common symptoms of bruxism?
- Loss of appetite
- Hypersensitivity in the teeth
- Tenderness and pain in the muscles of the jaw, especially when you wake up
- Pain and ringing sound in the ears
- Increased levels of irritation, stress and tension
- Lack of sleep
- In severe cases, arthritis in the jawbones
How can bruxism be reduced?
Here are certain things that you can do at home to reduce bruxism:
- Avoid foods that contain caffeine, such as beverages like tea, coffee, aerated drinks, etc.
- Avoid chewing gum.
- Reduce the consumption of alcohol, as it could make the condition of bruxism worse.
- Massage the pressure points on the face, jaw and neck to ease the stress in the muscles around the area.
- Exercise regularly and get adequate sleep.
- Being aware of the movement of the jaw is the best way to avoid the subconscious clenching and grinding of teeth.
Acrylic mouth guards are preferred by dentists to prevent the grinding of the teeth. They are custom fabricated to fit perfectly into the patient’s mouth and are made from a dental grade plastic material. They can be worn overnight and would reduce the wear of the teeth. In certain cases, an NTI-tsi device may be fitted into the mouth of a patient, which prevents the grinding of the teeth as well as the contraction of the jaw muscles. When these treatment methods don’t reduce the severity of bruxism, a surgery may be the last resort method.
Schedule an appointment with us and get bruxism treated by some of the best dentists in the Bay Area.