The word BRUXISM means grinding of teeth or gnashing of teeth in which the patient also clenches his jaws.
It is an oral para functional activity caused by the activation of chewing habit. It generally occurs during sleep but can also occur in severe stress conditions or anxiety. This habit causes removal of important surface structures of the tooth, leading to various secondary problems like senstivity of the teeth.
There are various causes of teeth grinding, both in children and adults. These are:
Teeth grinding occurs during sleep so most people are unaware that they have a habit of grinding teeth. People generally learn from their loved ones that they grind teeth ate night.
If you suspect that you are in habit of clenching teeth, then you should visit your dentist. Dentist will examine mouth and jaws for sign of teeth grinding.
Most of the patients will present with following problems in case of Bruxism:
Teeth grinding leads to malocclusion in children as children develop a particular way of closing their mouth. Clenching of teeth also leads to TMJ dysfunction. Tooth wear occurs because of teeth grinding which leads to exposure of dentinal surfaces and leads to teeth sensitivity. By Bruxism, incisal surfaces of front teeth and cusps of back teeth are worn down. With teeth grinding, teeth becomes weak and can fracture or chip off easily. Loosening of teeth may also occur with teeth grinding.
There is no exact cure of Bruxism. Main aim of treatment is to reduce discomfort or pain associated with Bruxism and to prevent further damage of teeth.
To treat Bruxism, Mouth guard can be given to the patient. Mouth guard is a plastic appliance which is given by the dentist to absorb biting forces and to prevent any damage to teeth and surrounding tissues. Mouth guard is designed for each patient according to his teeth and alignment of teeth. Mouth guard can be repositioning stock mouth guards and custom made mouth guards. Mouth guards are also called as night guard or dental guard or occlusal splint.
Relaxation Technique: Stress is considered as the main cause of Bruxism. To reduce stress level, patient can follow various relaxation techniques such as visual imagery, autosuggestion; aversive conditioning and meditation can be done.
Teeth damaged due to teeth grinding should be repaired. Prosthetic crowns can be given to repair the damaged teeth. PFM dental crowns can be given for front teeth and metallic dental crowns can be given for back teeth. In chronically involved teeth, root canal treatment or tooth extraction with dental implants or dental bridge may also be required.
Some muscle relaxants may also be given to the patient. Vitamin C supplements or calcium tablets can also be given to the patient to alleviate stress which further reduces grinding of teeth.
Teeth grinding may occur in children at time of eruption of permanent adult teeth. This habit is self-corrective.
Bruxism is not dangerous but can lead to permanent irreversible damage to teeth and also leads to jaw pain, headaches or pain in the ear.
Bruxism if not treatment, can lead to anxiety and depression, sleeplessness, eating disorder. Untreated habit will also lead to TMJ problems and can aggravate the tooth wear and dental problem.
In people prone to teeth grinding, stress reduction and anxiety management can prevent chances of Bruxism.
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