What Is Bruxism?
Bruxism is an oral parafunctional activity that commonly occurs with most people at some point in their lives.
The two main characteristics of this condition are grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw. These actions usually occur during a person’s sleeping hours, but occasionally they occur during the day.
Bruxism is one of the most common known sleep disorders. Chewing is a neuromuscular activity controlled by a subconscious process, but more highly controlled by the brain. During sleep, the subconscious process may become active while the higher control is inactive (asleep), resulting in bruxism.
The most common symptoms are:
- eating disorders
- chronic stress
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Why should I seek treatment for Bruxism?
Bruxism is a leading cause of gum recession and tooth loss. Grinding teeth can damage the soft tissue directly and lead to loose teeth and deep pockets where bacteria are able to colonize and decay the supporting bone.
Grinding can eventually shorten and blunt the teeth. This can lead to muscle pain in the myofascial region and, in severe cases, incapacitating headaches.
The abnormal wear patterns on the occlusal (chewing) surfaces of the teeth can lead to fractures, which if left untreated, may require restorative treatment at a later time.
How do we treat Bruxism?
Though there is no one cure for bruxism, there are a variety of devices and services available from our office to help treat bruxism.
An acrylic mouthguard can be designed from teeth impressions to minimize the abrasive grinding action during normal sleep. Mouthguards are expected to be worn on a long-term basis to help prevent tooth damage.
BOTOX® Cosmetic can be injected into the muscles responsible for bruxing by disabling them enough to prevent grinding, but not enough to disrupt normal functions like speaking and chewing.
Once bruxing is under control, a variety of dental procedures can be performed to restore the pleasant aesthetic appearance to your smile such as crowns, gum grafts and crown lengthening.