Have you woken up with pain in your facial muscles? Or with a headache? If so, bruxism may be the cause.
Do you know what it is or how can you know if you suffer from it? Read on ;).
What is bruxism?
Bruxism is a disorder that consists of involuntary clenching and grinding of the teeth, an action that occurs both during the day and at night.
There are two types of bruxism:
– Centric» bruxism: Consists of unconscious clenching of the teeth that can cause problems in the joint, such as temporomandibular joint syndrome, jaw and ear pain and even frequent headaches.
– Eccentric» bruxism: It is characterized by rubbing or grinding the teeth and can cause significant wear of the enamel of the teeth.
How do I know I have bruxism?
Bruxism is not easy to diagnose, as it is an unconscious habit, people do not realize that they are clenching or grinding their teeth.
During the day those around you can tell you, however, during sleep the problem is more serious to detect and therefore more difficult to control.
It is usually discovered during a routine dental check-up. Or if you go to the dentist because you feel a sharp pain in your face or neck.
Or because some people around you notice you clenching your teeth or perceive the noise produced by grinding them and warn you about it. Clinical examination and radiographic study will confirm the diagnosis.
What is the cause of bruxism?
The cause of unconscious clenching and grinding of the teeth is unknown, but it is believed that stress may be responsible for the disorder in a large number of cases.
It can also occur because of a bite dysfunction or because the arrangement of the teeth is altered.
An early diagnosis can avoid suffering from this disorder and prevent the possible consequences.
How is bruxism treated?
The treatment of bruxism aims to reduce pain and try to avoid or stop the damage it causes to the teeth, as well as to reduce the muscular overload it causes.
For this purpose, a material called an «unloading splint» is used, whose function is to protect the teeth from the pressure exerted by the patient when clenching and grinding the teeth.
It is a rigid splint, made of resin and its design helps to keep the jaw in a more relaxed position. It is normally used at night, during sleep, but can also be worn during the day if necessary.
Sometimes, if the bruxism is caused by a bad arrangement of the teeth, the articulation of the teeth is retouched to avoid abnormal contact points between them. Or orthodontic treatment can be performed to correct the position of the teeth.
The splint is a good solution, but not definitive, since it does not eliminate the patient’s habit and when it is removed the discomfort usually returns.
Can bruxism be prevented?
As it is an involuntary action, it is difficult to establish measures to prevent bruxism, except to reduce stress, which is the most common cause.
A high level of stress or anxiety during the day can trigger bruxism episodes during the night (and even during the day). Therefore, if the period of stress is prolonged, measures must be taken to reduce or eliminate the problem before it causes other disorders.
To this end, patients may be recommended to practice some of the following sports that help you sleep, avoid drinking coffee and other stimulants before going to sleep. Try to have moments of rest and relaxation between the most stressful daily activities and find ways to relax before going to bed, for example, by listening to music.
Do you need bruxism treatment?
In Cervantes Dental Clinic in Granada we care about your dental health, so we advise you properly to treat your specific case.
As we always say, each one of us is different, and so is our case. For this reason, personalized and attentive service is our daily routine.
Smile is a universal language. Come to our dental clinic in Granada and we will advise you. First appointment free of charge!