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Bruxism is a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. If you have bruxism, you may unconsciously clench your teeth together during the day or grind them at night, which is called sleep bruxism.

Bruxism may be mild and may not even require treatment. However, it can be frequent and severe enough to lead to jaw disorders, headaches, damaged teeth and other problems. Because you may have sleep bruxism and be unaware of it until complications develop, it's important to know the signs and symptoms of bruxism and to seek regular dental care.


Signs and symptoms of bruxism may include:

    1. Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to awaken your sleep partner
    2. Teeth that are worn down, flattened, fractured or chipped

    3. Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth

    4. Increased tooth sensitivity

    5. Jaw pain or tightness in your jaw muscles

    6. Tired jaw muscles

    7. Earache — because of severe jaw muscle contractions, not a problem with your ear

    8. Headache

    9. Chronic facial pain

    10. Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek

    11. Indentations on your tongue


If you notice that your child is grinding his or her teeth — or has other signs or symptoms of this condition — be sure to mention it at your child's next dentist appointment.


Causes of bruxism

Possible physical or psychological causes may include:

  1. Anxiety, stress or tension
  2. Suppressed anger or frustration
  3. Aggressive, competitive or hyperactive personality type
  4. Abnormal alignment of upper and lower teeth (malocclusion)
  5. Other sleep problems
  6. Response to pain from an earache or teething (in children)
  7. Complication resulting from a disorder, such as Huntington's disease or Parkinson's disease
  8. An uncommon side effect of some psychiatric medications, including certain antidepressants


Complications of bruxism

  1. Damage to your teeth (including restorations and crowns) or jaw
  2. Tension-type headaches
  3. Facial pain
  4. Temporomandibular disorders — which occur in the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), located just in front of your ears and felt when opening and closing your mouth



Treatments for bruxim


Stress management. If you grind your teeth because of stress, you may be able to prevent the problem with professional counseling or strategies that promote relaxation, such as exercise and meditation. If your child grinds his or her teeth because of tension or fear, it may help your child to talk about his or her fears just before bed or to relax with a warm bath or a favorite book.


Night Guards are thin, transparent, and horseshoe-shaped, dental device that fits over either the upper or the lower teeth, creating a cushion between them and absorbing the impact of the grinding or clenching. Nightguards can help reduce enamel damage, jaw joint inflammation, and irritation to the gums are available over-the-counter and from your dentist. Your dentist can make a custom mouth guard to fit your mouth. A splint/nightguard is meant as a physiologically correct bite that allows the jaw joint (TMJ) to assume it's most correct and least traumatic position. This position will allow for a stable base that will decrease both muscular activity and damaging forces to the joint.


Correcting misaligned teeth may help if your bruxism seems to be associated with dental problems. In severe cases — when tooth wear has led to sensitivity or the inability to chew properly — your dentist may need to use overlays or crowns to entirely reshape the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Reconstructive treatment can be quite extensive and although it will correct the wear, it may not stop the bruxism.


Behavior therapy. Once you discover that you have bruxism, you may be able to change the behavior by practicing proper mouth and jaw position. Concentrate on resting your tongue upward with your teeth apart and your lips closed. This should keep your teeth from grinding and your jaw from clenching. Ask your dentist to show you the best position for your mouth and jaw.


Medications.In general, medications aren't very effective for treatment of bruxism. In some cases, your doctor may suggest taking a muscle relaxant before bedtime. If you develop bruxism as a side effect of an antidepressant medication, your doctor may change your medication or prescribe another medication to counteract your bruxism.


These self-care steps may prevent or help treat bruxism:

  1. Reduce stress. Listening to music, taking a warm bath or exercising can help relax you and may reduce your risk of developing bruxism.
  2. Avoid stimulating substances in the evening. Don't drink coffee or tea after dinner, and avoid alcohol and smoking during the evening as they may worsen bruxism.
  3. Talk to your sleep partner. If you have a sleeping partner, ask him or her to be aware of any grinding or clicking sounds that you might make while sleeping. Your sleep partner can then let you know if he or she notices any teeth-grinding sounds in the night.
  4. Schedule regular dental exams. Dental exams are the best way to screen against bruxism, especially if you live alone or don't


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