Do you clench or grind your teeth?
Bruxism is an oral parafunctional activity that commonly occurs in most people at some point in their lives. The two main characteristics of this condition are grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaws. 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. 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 symptoms are headaches, muscle pain or tightness.
Why should I seek treatment?
- Bruxism. This can cause breakage and tooth loss. Grinding can lead to loose teeth and deep pockets where bacteria are able to colonize and damage the supporting bone.
- Facial pain. Grinding can eventually lead to muscle pain and in some 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 or may necessitate removal of the tooth.
Though there is no known cure for bruxism, however mouthguards available through our office can help treat the symptoms for bruxism:
- Mouthguards. A hard acrylic mouthguard can be designed from teeth impressions to minimize the abrasive grinding action during normal sleep. Mouthguards (night guards) must be worn on a long-term basis to help prevent tooth damage.