Bruxism occurs when a person grinds and/or clenches their teeth. It is a condition that affects individuals of all ages and one that should be addressed to your dentist. Our team at Centre Dentaire NP can answer all your questions regarding this condition, which, will not only help create awareness about the condition, but we will also find solutions for you.
What is bruxism?
Bruxism is when muscles that are used for chewing are active outside periods of mastication. This leads to grinding and/or clenching of your dentition. A majority of bruxism problems occur at night when the individual is grinding and/or clenching unknowingly.
Bruxism is associated with anxiety and/or stress that are accumulated throughout the day. Additionally, this occurs even more so when the individual is sleeping on their back as the position of the muscles ARE WHAT. In other cases, bruxism is related to malocclusion, which can be resolved with orthodontics.
Other risk factors associated with bruxism are:
- Use of tobacco
- Intake of alcohol in high quantities
- Certain medications (i.e. antidepressants)
- Consumption of drugs
Who suffers from bruxism?
Bruxism can affect people at any age. It is estimated that approximately 8% of adults are affected whereas in children the statistic is as high as 20%. Thus, it is important to observe the signs and symptoms and see a dental professional if you have any questions or concerns.
What are the symptoms of bruxism?
Bruxism can unfortunately damage our dentition and create a series of different problems. The following is a list of signs and symptoms:
- Waking up in the morning with a headache
- Fatigue and irritability
- Pain or stiffness in the jaw
- Dental hypersensitivity (caused by the wear of the enamel)
- Abnormal wear of the dentition (your dentist will observe this during a routine dental exam)
As bruxism leads to grinding of your teeth, it is most probably your significant other that will point this out to you, as this makes a prominent noise at night.
What are the consequences associated to bruxism?
As a long-term consequence, grinding your teeth affects your smile, as you can lose a large amount of your enamel. Dentin is a layer found underneath the enamel that can lead to sensitivity to hot, cold, and certain foods but ultimately compromises the tooth (or teeth) as it becomes fragile. Severe wear of a tooth can lead to fractures or cracks.
In certain situations, bruxism can lead to temporomandibular joint disorders such as the affecting the jaw joints.
What is the solution for bruxism?
If bruxism affects you or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to see your dentist. The dentist will do a clinical exam; ask you questions about your health history and other habits. This will lead to a few possible solutions and one of them being a nightguard.
A nightguard is a removable appliance that is worn each night. It is an appliance made of a strong and resistant material, which is still comfortable. To ensure proper protection of the dentition, these are custom made to you and your bite. By wearing a nightguard every night, it allows the muscles responsible for mastication to relax and prevent the two arches from occluding. This is one of the best solutions for bruxism.
If your smile has been affected by bruxism, your dentist can propose several solutions to restore the dentition along with protecting it!