Have you ever grinded your teeth? Most people do it when they are mad or anxious, lifting heavy objects, or sleeping. The medical term for this condition is Bruxism. Teeth grinding which is believed to affect 10% of the world population usually occurs during sleep. It is one of the most undiagnosed sleep disorder that may result to severe cases of tooth damage and loss. The following are important facts people should know about bruxism:
1. Bruxism can give people migraines
It can cause pain in the temples affecting the temporalis muscles. Other common symptoms include: enlargement of facial muscles, jaw discomfort, stiffness of shoulders and neck, and ear pain.
2. Bruxism can be caused by stress, sleeping disorders or certain personality types
Doctors haven’t studied this disorder well enough to understand its cause, but possible psychological and physical causes include stress and anxiety, aggressiveness, abnormal alignment of teeth, and complications from Parkinson’s disease.
3. Bruxism can lead to premature tooth loss
Severe teeth grinding can result to loosening, fracturing, or loss of teeth. Some people who have bruxism have teeth that have been wearied down to stumps. Dentists who handle patients with this disorder recommend various dental surgeries including root canal implants, crowns bridges and dentures.
4. Bruxism affects many people, but only a quarter knows they have it
Most people do not know they have bruxism. This is largely due to the reason that most cases happen during sleep. Patients who have this disorder often have unexplained facial pain, , sore jaws, and headaches in the morning, but they don’t have a clue that they are grinding their teeth every night.
5. Bruxism affects more than just your teeth
Because it affects the teeth, people think it only damages the area surrounding the mouth. Little do they know that severe teeth grinding can also aggravates facial joints, especially ones found in the cheek and lower jaws. It can cause earaches, damaged jaws, and facial distortion.
6. Bruxism has no drug medication available
Unfortunately, there is no drug that can stop people from grinding their teeth, However, there are a number of mechanical devices and services that can ease your condition. With patience, you can even treat it permanently.
Doctors recommend using acrylic mouth guards that are designed to minimize the teeth grinding movements during sleep. This might make sleep uncomfortable, but it prevents tooth damage in the long run.
7. Bruxism is the Leading Cause of Gum Recession
When you grind your teeth, you also damage the soft tissues in your gums, this leads to lose of teeth and deeper pockets which become breeding places for bacteria.
8. Bruxism Often Happens During Sleep Time
During sleep our subconscious process controls neuromuscular activities. This is the reason why subconscious process may become active while you sleep making it possible for you to move your mouth and grind your teeth.
However, teeth grinding not only happens during sleep, occasionally patients have reported doing it during day time. People who are concentrating on challenging mental tasks, lifting objects, and stressful driving can apply force through their muscles and mimic the clenching and rhythmic contractions people experience during sleep.
CONCLUSION: Treat it Before It Gets Worse
One can easily manage bruxism when they are aware of it. When treating Bruxism makes sure you have pinpointed the cause.
If the disorder is caused by stress, you must find a way to cope with it. There are many ways you can handle stress (Ex. doing yoga, relaxing, listening to music). It’s always better to take a doctor’s recommendation and undergo in behavioral management, stress counseling or psychoanalysis before trying out the options above.
If the disorder is not related to stress, it is best to consult a dentist to have yourself evaluated with a comprehensive dental exam. Dentist will then acknowledge a treatment plan that is specialized for you.