Bruxism is an oral parafunctional activity that commonly occurs in most people at some point in their lives and is often stress related. The two main characteristics of this condition are grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw. These actions usually occur during a person’s sleeping hours, but occasionally they occur during the day.
Bruxism is one of the most common known sleep disorders and is often related to sleep apnoea. Chewing is a neuromuscular activity controlled by a subconscious process, but more highly controlled by the brain. During sleep, the subconscious process may become active, while the higher control is inactive (asleep), resulting in bruxism. The most common general symptoms are earaches / headaches, and it may also be a component of depression, eating disorders, anxiety, and chronic stress.
Why should I seek treatment for Bruxism?
Bruxism /Grinding is a leading cause of tooth loss. It can significantly effect your periodontal health It can damage the soft tissue directly and also lead to loose teeth, pain when chewing, temperature sensitivity and deep pockets where bacteria are able to colonise and decay the supporting bone.
It also causes
- Facial pain. Grinding can eventually shorten and blunt the teeth. This can lead to muscle pain in the myofascial region and in severe cases, incapacitating headaches.
- Occlusal trauma. The abnormal wear patterns on the occlusal (chewing) surfaces of the teeth can lead to fractures, which, if left untreated, may require restorative treatment at a later time.
- Arthritis. In the most severe cases, bruxism can eventually lead to painful arthritis in the temporomandibular (TMJ) joints that allow the jaw to open and close smoothly.
Bruxism Treatment Options
Though there is no known cure for bruxism, there are a variety of devices and services available through our office &/or your general dentist &/or restorative specialist &/or a specialist in management of such TMD conditions to help treat bruxism:
- Mouthguards. An acrylic mouthguard can be designed from teeth impressions to minimize the abrasive grinding action during normal sleep. Mouthguards must be worn on a long-term basis to help prevent tooth damage.
- NTI-tss device: This device only covers the front teeth and must be fitted at our office. The idea behind the NTI-tss is to prevent grinding the rear molars by limiting the contraction of the temporalis muscle in the jaw.
Once bruxing is under control, a variety of dental procedures can be performed to restore your function and aesthetics/appearance/ your smile such as crowns perhaps supplemented by periodontal treatment eg. gum grafts and crown lengthening.