Bruxism: The Silent Nighttime Habit and Its Impact on Oral Health

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Bruxism can be debilitating and negatively impact your quality of sleep and life. Some may suffer from sleep bruxism while some from awake bruxism. There could be several causes that can predispose you to develop the condition. 

But what is bruxism? Find out everything about this dental problem through the informative blog by the dentist in Kips Bay, New York, to be well-informed about the condition that helps you seek dental care. 

Table of Contents

What is bruxism?

An involuntary clenching or grinding of your teeth, especially during sleep, is known as bruxism. This could probably occur when you are awake (awake bruxism) or during your sleep (sleep bruxism). Occasional teeth grinding is considered normal, but persistent clenching should not be ignored since it can indicate an underlying cause. 

What causes bruxism?

Bruxism has multiple causes to it that are different in adults and children. These include:

Causes in adults 

  • Sleep disorders
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking and alcoholism
  • Consumption of recreational drugs and excess caffeine 
  • Certain medications like anti-anxiety drugs 

Causes in children 

  • Malaligned teeth
  • Pain such as earache
  • Stress 
  • Medical conditions like hyperactivity or cerebral palsy

What are the symptoms associated with bruxism?

Bruxism can present with the following signs and symptoms:

  • Headaches 
  • TMJ pain 
  • Pain radiating to the ears 
  • Gnawing, full, constant tooth pain, especially after waking up
  • Wearing down the tooth enamel
  • Jaw pain while chewing 
  • Clicking or popping sounds around the TMJ
  • Jaw stiffness (lockjaw)
  • Myofascial pain
  • Highly sensitive teeth 
  • Tooth indentations 

What are the complications of bruxism?

Excess teeth grinding is not normal and may cause some serious dental issues such as:

  • Wearing down of teeth
  • Fractured or mobile teeth
  • Damage to your TMJ, jaw
  • Strained neck muscles
  • Tooth loss
  • Aesthetic problems due to changes in your facial profile

How do dentists treat bruxism? 

Here are some common ways in which bruxism is treated:

Conservative methods 

  • Relaxation exercises
  • Stress management techniques like yoga

Mouthguards/Nightguards

  • These are acrylic appliances that help to minimize the abrasive action of tooth surfaces during sleep.
  • They also help stabilize the occlusion and prevent damage to the teeth and TMJ.

NTI-tss device

  • This device is designed to fit your front teeth, preventing the abnormal grinding of the rear molars by limiting the contraction of the temporalis muscle.

Botox injections 

  • This is a non-invasive method that uses Botox, a neuromodulator that aids in the relaxation of the facial muscles that have been weakened due to bruxism.

Other supportive treatments 

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Physical therapy  

Bottom line 

Bruxism is a common condition being suffered by people of all age groups. An unhealthy lifestyle, stress, and anxiety are the main culprits behind this condition. Diagnosing and treating it early is important to avoid further dental complications. Treating bruxism can greatly improve your quality of life.