Do you suffer from aching teeth and jaws in your waking hours? This could be due unconscious teeth grinding during your sleep.
Teeth grinding and clenching also known as Bruxism generally occurs during sleep and can often go undetected. Often a partner or family member is first to notice the sufferers condition due to a constant grinding throughout the night.
Bruxism is generally caused by psychological stress, anxiety and tension in your waking life.
Symptoms of teeth clenching and grinding can include:
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Bruxism is more of a behavioural disorder than a physical condition per se, except perhaps in cases where an occlusal disharmony may trigger it. A premature contact when the teeth are brought together is thought to be sometimes responsible for setting off a grinding habit. This is occasionally seen when a dentist fills a tooth and the amalgam filling is unintentionally left fractionally high in the bite. Even this small amount of prematurity often triggers a grinding response as the patient tries subconsciously to remove the high spot as can often be seen from the shiny area on the filling that results.
Children sometimes have a tendency to grind their teeth and this is sometimes associated with the permanent teeth erupting although often seems to be for no particular reason at all and doesn’t generally cause any problem although it may sound disturbing. They usually grow out of the habit by the time they reach their teens.
Bruxism in adults is very variable in degree but can cause other problems if pronounced and continuous over a period of time. Many people probably have a very mild bruxing tendency, often with just frequent teeth clenching but no actual grinding, and this causes them little or no bother. The aetiology of noticeable bruxism can be quite varied, from allergic reactions or medical conditions such as digestive problems, to trauma resulting from an accident; but most often seems to be associated with stress or anxiety. Some people have a naturally anxious disposition and may be more likely to develop a teeth clenching or grinding habit. Sometimes it seems that a period of unusually high stress causes the habit to begin and it may persist even after the stressful period has ended.
Suppressed anger or frustration, or even just an inherently aggressive or hyperactive personality can result in teeth grinding in some individuals and if linked to underlying personality traits may be difficult to manage. Rarely, bruxism is an associated complication of a physical disorder such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease.
Bruxism is possibly most common during sleep and research and observation have shown that it is often associated with certain lifestyle factors or problems. People who have a sleep disturbance problem to a greater or lesser degree often tend to also have a grinding habit. Whether it’s the grinding that keeps them awake is not clear. In addition to actual insomnia there are sleep problems such as disruptive snoring and intermittent sleep apnoea where there are brief periods of not breathing. In these cases the carbon dioxide level in the blood rises and a natural reflex kick-starts breathing again but it can be distressing for some or cause inadequately refreshing sleep with the person then feeling “washed out” the next day. Bruxism is more commonly seen in people who suffer these types of sleep problems.
There is also a recognised association between bruxism and certain lifestyle factors such as heavy use of tobacco, caffeine or alcohol, or the taking of regular medications for anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Certainly also bruxism in some may be linked to a type of antidepressant known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), such paroxetine, fluoxetine and setraline.
Increasingly today many jobs are performance orientated with targets being set and performance levels constantly judged. Some personalities cope better than others in such situations and the need to perform and to be constantly monitored is something that causes many people undue stress, which ironically can lead to them performing even worse!
A thorough history should help in determining the cause of bruxism in any individual case and will include questions about perceived stress levels of the person in their daily life plus lifestyle questions concerning sleeping habits and the intake of various substances such as caffeine and alcohol which are known to possibly exacerbate the situation.
A thorough intraoral examination is also necessary especially in relation to the patient’s occlusion which needs to be carefully assessed for any premature contacts or limitation of excursive movements. Also a check for any tenderness in the muscles of the face needs to be made, and an examination of the teeth for signs of premature wear.
Unfortunately bruxism can persist for years in a person who finds life stressful without any apparent way to reduce their levels of stress. A physical bite problem, though, once diagnosed, is relatively easy to fix by judicious grinding of teeth, orthodontics, or restorative measures, and relief from bruxism usually follows fairly quickly.
A large number of people today suffer from a condition called Bruxism. It is also known as teeth grinding and is a condition which can cause problems for people if it is not taken care of in the early stages. It can be hard to determine whether or not you suffer from Bruxism, since people tend to do this in their sleep, and it can turn into a nasty habit in some adults and young children. Teeth grinding can cause the teeth to wear down, get damaged and become weak. It can also cause permanent damage to the jawbone and excessive teeth grinding can cause major dental problems.
One of the most commonly asked questions about this dental problem is exactly how is bruxism caused? Well, for the most part, the causes of teeth grinding are still being studied and it is generally seen as a subconscious habit of people who grind their teeth usually in their sleep. However, here are some of the factors which can lead to bruxism today:
It is important to note the common signs and symptoms of bruxism, simply due to the fact that you can subconsciously grind your teeth in your sleep and never even find out about this disorder. Here are some of the most important signs of Bruxism that you need to look out for:
It is not necessary that you notice all these signs, since every person has got a different teeth structure and sometimes people who are in the habit of clenching their teeth often make the mistake of believing that they have bruxism, when in fact they don’t have any such thing. It is therefore important to visit the dentist if you are ever in doubt.
In order to get treated for teeth grinding today, you need to understand the exact treatment process properly. You will have to discuss your treatment with your dentist and find out the various treatments in order to get relief from this condition. You should disclose the following information to your dentist before getting treatment:
It is important to tell all this to your dentist, since then you can be diagnosed properly. The dentist has to diagnose your condition properly before any treatment can begin and here are some of the things the dentist will make a note of:
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