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 or clenching of the jaw. These actions usually occur during a person’s sleeping hours, but may also occur during the day, particularly when stressed.
Bruxism is one of the most common known sleep disorders. The most common symptoms are earaches, headaches, muscle pain and tooth discomfort, but can lead to difficulty in eating or opening and closing your mouth.
Why should I seek treatment for Bruxism?
- Damage to teeth. Clenching and grinding can lead to tooth looseness and/or fracture. Broken teeth may require dental restoration or may need to be extracted if not restorable.
- Facial pain. Continual muscle contraction can lead to pain in the muscles of the head, neck and face, often presenting as headaches. More severe cases may experience difficulty opening or closing the jaw, or pain in the joint area during function.
- Occlusal trauma. The excessive wear on the occlusal (chewing) surfaces of the teeth from prolonged bruxing can not only damage individual teeth but may also alter the entire jaw relation and affect your ability to eat and speak, and even change your facial appearance.
- 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.
Though there is no known cure for bruxism, there are a variety of devices and services available through our office 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.
- Soft Mouthguards. Soft, rubbery mouthguards, similar to an athletic mouthguard, can be fashioned if you clench your teeth and help protect your teeth from damage.
- TMJ/TMD Referral. We work with excellent dentists who focus their practices on TMJ issues and facial pain and refer to them for those cases beyond our level of care and expertise.