Dental bruxism is the term that is commonly known for grinding the teeth. It can occur both during the day and at night unconsciously when sleeping. People who suffer from it clench their teeth and move them from back to front and vice versa, causing wear and tear of the pieces. It is more common and obviously more difficult to control the one related to sleep. While it is true that its main trigger is situated on the psychological level, its repercussions extend to the level of dentistry. Dental bruxism can cause teeth to ache or become loose. In addition, it wears the bone that supports the tooth and causes joint problems.
What can cause it?
Specialists point to stress as one of the main triggers of dental bruxism. However, there are other factors that may contribute to its appearance such as:
· An inadequate alignment of the teeth.
· The type of feeding the patient follows.
· Sleep habits
· The inability to relax.
· The posture adopted.
· How strong they clench or gnash their teeth.
Symptoms of dental bruxism
Some people with dental bruxism don’t show discomfort and do not discover that they have it until someone tells them that they grind their teeth while they sleep. It can also be discovered in a routine dental check-up due to worn teeth or fractured enamel. In order to diagnose dental bruxism, the specialist must conduct a clinical interview, an examination and a radiographic study.
Although some people may have no symptoms, dental bruxism can cause:
- Anxiety, stress and tension.
- Sleep disturbances such as insomnia.
- Muscle sensitivity, especially in the morning.
- Facial, head and neck pain.
- Dental sensitivity to cold, heat and sweets.
- Jaw pain or swelling.
- Eating disorders.
Although not a serious problem, dental bruxism can cause permanent dental injuries and temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ). The structures of this joint are very close to the external auditory canal so that the referred pain in the ears is also quite frequent among patients. In addition, the grinding can be so loud during the nights as to hinder the sleep of the roommates.
What’s the solution?
The right treatment for dental bruxism will depend on knowing what is causing this problem. The dentist must determine the potential cause with precise questions and a dental exam. Then, according to the cause and the damage caused, you can suggest different options. The treatments that are applied to treat dental bruxism are aimed at reducing pain, preventing tooth wear and permanent damage to the jaw. These therapies can reduce the habit of clenching and grinding your teeth, although often they are not a definitive solution.
Traditionally splints or dental protectors have been used to prevent dental bruxism during sleep. Splints can make the pain go away while they are used and help prevent the damage that this disorder can cause. However, they do not solve the problem, since the discomfort reappears if they stop being used.