Encyclopedia

Bruxism

Bruxism is a condition characterized by grinding or clenching of the teeth. If a person suffers from this condition, he unconsciously grinds his teeth during the day or during sleep /sleep bruxism/.

Teeth grinding during sleep is considered a sleep-related movement disorder. People who chatter or grind their teeth during sleep are more likely to have other sleep disorders such as snoring and interrupted breathing /sleep apnea/.

Mild teeth chattering usually does not need treatment.

But in some people, the condition can occur frequently and be so severe that it causes jaw disease, headaches, tooth damage and other problems.

Since it is possible for a person to chatter their teeth during sleep and not be aware of it until complications develop, it is important to recognize the signs of the condition and consult if necessary with a dentist.

What are the symptoms?

• Grinding or clenching of teeth can be severe enough to interrupt a partner’s sleep;

• Tooth enamel worn away, exposing the deeper layers of the tooth;

• Teeth have an unusually flat upper surface, possibly also broken;

• Increased sensitivity of the teeth;

• Pain or painful sensations when touching the jaw;

• Feeling of fatigue or excessive stiffness of the jaw muscles;

• A painful sensation that feels like an earache, although there is actually no problem with the hearing organs;

• Indentations on the tongue;

• Injuries of the mucous membrane on the inside of the ear;

When to seek medical help?

• If the teeth are visibly worn, damaged or sensitive;

• For painful sensations in the jaw, face or ears;

• If the affected person is unable to fully open or close their jaw;

If you notice that your child has an overly smooth surface of the teeth or has other signs and symptoms of bruxism, it is necessary to make an appointment with a dentist.

What are the causes?

Doctors are often unable to determine the exact cause of the condition.

Possible physical or psychological causes are:

• Emotions, such as anxiety, stress, anger, frustration or tension;

• Aggressive, hyperactive or competitive personality type;

• Improper bite – abnormal position of the upper and lower teeth;

• Sleep disorders such as apnea;

• Reaction to pain from earaches or teething in children;

• Reflux of stomach acids into the esophagus;

• An unusual side effect of using certain psychiatric medications, such as phenothiazines or certain antidepressants;

• As a result of complications of certain diseases such as Huntington’s or Parkinson’s disease.

Treatment of bruxism

In most cases, treatment is not necessary. Many children outgrow the condition without needing treatment.

Also, many of those affected in adulthood do not grind their teeth hard enough to cause damage.

However, if the dental status is progressively deteriorating, there are various dental methods, therapies and medications.

Dentists are most often involved in the treatment, and their methods cannot prevent teeth chattering, but only protect the teeth from damage.

The placement of splints or other similar mouth guards is usually resorted to. They are designed to keep the teeth separated to prevent them from decaying.

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