It is the term for the unconscious habit of clenching and grinding of the teeth. This parafunctional activity originates mainly in stress and its derivatives in parasomnias (waking continuously during sleep) and other sleep disturbances.
It is important to note that this behavior can also be conscious. This way it is less harmful or injurious to human form, in terms of supporting tissues (jaws, gums), teeth, muscles and temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
Bruxism episodes may occur in the day, evening or both at once (sleeping hours), and although there are many theories to explain the appearance of this habit, such as:
- The misalignment of teeth
- The malocclusions and premature contact points between teeth
- Noises or popping in the joint (TMJ) pain, difficulty opening the mouth
It seems that the main cause is related to the psycho-emotional and associated risk factors such as tobacco, alcohol or drugs, which significantly increase their impact factors due to effects on the central nervous system.
Bruxism consequences can not only be evident in an intraoral way but it can also cause unpleasant alterations related to:
Head, face and neck;people that have bruxism tend to have headaches which accentuated in the temporal region (temple) and on facial muscles, especially those involved in chewing.
Cervical pain or in the neck; people that have bruxism tend to have cramps, pain, feel heat or fatigue due to excessive contractive forces and although it might seem incomprehensible, stiffness, low mobility and pain in the shoulders is also justified since there is a relation between the areas of insertion between the muscles of this are with the face and head.
Sore throat; Pain, itching and clogged ears; plus balance problems and noises.
The patient must use a myorelaxant plate or discharge plate, which is obtained from an impression and is constructed with an acrylic resin.
The plate is generally adapted to the maxilla in order to avoid tooth contact that stimulates excessive muscle contraction. From this plate is programmed every 8 days, then every 15 days thereafter to finish programming the control per month and then three months after it is made.
The plate prevents the further eroding teeth, along with the constant use of it, the patient may remove gradually grinding and clenching.
This therapeutic option can also be combined with painkillers and muscle relaxants.
The sooner bruxism is detected its consequences can be better avoided. It is then important for detecting it, that the patient takes into account all of the symptoms mentioned above: muscle pain and fatigue, face and neck pain etc. In addition, patients should not forget the intraoral clinical findings, tooth wear and dental restorations (resins and amalgams) and fractures.
Another detail for early detection of bruxism is the warning of our roommate, since it is very likely that after a few nights they tell you that while you sleep, you make a grinding or clenching noise with your teeth.
It is important to:
- Do exercises
- Have a healthy diet and avoid eating at inconvenient times as well as not falling asleep as soon as you have something to eat
- Avoid the consumption of psychostimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol
- Perform consciously your oral care such as flossing, the use of interdental brushes, conventional brushes, using mouthwash and of course, visit your dentist AT LEAST TWICE A YEAR or as it’s recommended.
These measures will lead to an optimal state, not only with your oral health but also in everything related to physical and mental health.