Various types of dental conditions warrant us to visit the dentist from time to time to ensure that our dental health is in good condition. For example, have you ever heard of or seen someone that always grinds their teeth? Have you ever experienced this yourself?

The news flash is that this condition is quite common among young children and adults and is known as bruxism. In this article, we’ll take a comprehensive look at bruxism and how it can be treated.

What Is Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

Bruxism is a medical condition in individuals who grind and gnash their teeth via their jaw muscles. This teeth grinding can happen anytime, either when the person is conscious or when the person is unconscious. Sometimes it can involve the front teeth, but on various occasions, it affects all the teeth in the mouth.

Bruxism is known as a tension disorder. When someone experiences teeth grinding, they most commonly are stressed, have a headache, and may be restless when sleeping. When bruxism combines with arousal when an individual is sleeping, it is known to cause a certain sleeping movement disorder. When you grind your teeth when sleeping and snore simultaneously, you are at risk of getting sleep apnea which is another sleep disorder.

Teeth grinding night guards can protect the teeth from significant damage, and may be a recommended treatment for bruxism.

Symptoms of Bruxism

In the cases of most individuals, they don’t even know that this is occurring until the symptoms begin to unveil themselves. Some people who go for regular dental checkups discover symptoms of bruxism as it appears in the form of tooth damage. So it is always a great idea to see a dentist as soon as possible to make sure your oral health is in order. 

These symptoms are often different in various individuals. For instance, bruxism comes in two major types, namely: nocturnal and awake bruxism. Nocturnal bruxism gets worse when a person wakes up. However, awake bruxism doesn’t produce any symptoms in the morning until later in the day. The following are the signs and symptoms of Bruxism:

  • Restlessness during sleep 
  • Can be noticed by your partner when you are sleeping.
  • Worn out enamel, chipped teeth or any sign of teeth wearing.
  • Damaged dental fillings or crowns.
  • Severe headaches
  • Tensional migraines
  • Slight headaches, especially within your temples
  • Injury on the inside of your cheeks inflicted when your teeth were in motion

When Does It Occur?

Bruxism has two kinds, namely awake and sleep bruxism. Although, these two types of bruxism have different origins. There is no one exact reason why bruxism occurs. However, there are various reasons for it. In aspect of sleep bruxism, it is caused due to a sleep movement disorder. Chewing and arousal can cause sleep bruxism. Awake bruxism occurs from emotional situations such as anxiety, anger, frustration, tension, and stress. 

In the case of other forms of bruxism, they can be caused by various medical conditions. For instance, some studies show that people suffering from a neurological disease such as cranial nerve disorder are known to exhibit awake bruxism symptoms. The following are other ways bruxism can occur in a person:

  • Various kinds of medications, for example, antidepressants
  • Refusal to complete prescribed medication can lead to bruxism
  • Missing or broken teeth
  • Strong bites

Complications of Bruxism

There are many cases of bruxism that don’t result in serious complications. However, if the condition worsens over time, it leads to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ). A jaw disorder causes the mouth to make a clicking sound whether it is open or closed. Other complications that might develop include broken teeth, damaged fillings, damaged jaw, damaged crowns, the damaging of other various forms of dental implants as well as changing the person’s facial look.  

Treatments For Bruxism

The fact is that not everyone suffering from bruxism requires any form of treatment. However, there are no major treatment procedures that help bruxism. The following dental preventive measures should be taken for people suffering from bruxism.

  • Make use of mouthguards or splints in the mouth to prevent the teeth from gnashing against each other this will protect fillings, crowns, or any form of dental corrections that have been carried out on the teeth.
  • A therapist or psychiatrist may be required if the situation in the individual has resulted in anxiety and depression.

The following can also be used alternatively:

  • Electrical stimulation to see the activities of the jaw muscle in the mouth
  • Stress management
  • Anti-anxiety medications 
  • Botox injection can also be an alternative 

Treatment Is only recommended to treat related cases of bruxism. Some of these cases might even have neurological disorders leading one to seek medical attention. 

Preventive Measures For Bruxism

Even though treatment types are available for treating bruxism, it is also a great idea to have preventive measures in place. The following will help you prevent or minimize bruxism:

  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Reduce your intake of caffeinated products and beverages such as chocolate and coffee. If possible, you can stop it entirely.  
  • Stop biting down or chewing on items, for instance, chewing your pen.
  • Stop chewing gums or any other form of sticky food. When you continue chewing things like gum, it causes your jaw muscles to get used to the frequent grinding of the teeth.
  • Try to observe when your teeth are grinding against each other and stop it as much as possible.
  • Place a warm cloth on your cheek to help calm the jaw muscles.
  • Wear a mouthguard before you sleep.
  • Try meditation and other various forms of relaxation.
  • Try to massage your jaws to reduce the tension in them.
  • If bruxism leads to anxiety or stress, you can see a therapist or psychiatrist.

Final Thoughts

Bruxism in individuals consists of various types; however, you can keep yourself in good condition with the right preventive measures. Even though bruxism isn’t always severe as it seems, it is ideal to enlist the services of a dental care specialist for regular checkups.