We all live active lives full of different experiences, including stress. During their sleep people try to get rid of the stress experienced during the day. Some of them is getting rid of it by grinding their teeth. But while we are sleeping we don’t know what is going on in our mouth – teeth are strongly clenched, chewing muscles are pushing, the jaw is grinding and everything is happening involuntarily. This phenomenon is called bruxism.
So bruxism is a condition of grinding teeth or biting them too strong because of intensive jaw movements. Commonly bruxism occurs during the sleep. During bruxism the upper and lower tooth row rubbing against each other. People with bruxism rarely knows about having it.
Usually teeth are clenched when chewing or swallowing. At the rest time, there is a gap between two dental arches even though lips are pursed.
Studies show that up to 85% of adults grind their teeth. Negative teeth grinding consequences experience every third adult. That they have problems related to teeth grinding admit 5 – 20% respondents. Person by itself usually is unaware about suffering from bruxism. This condition usually is noticed by other persons living together.
According to physicians, there is no one specific reason that causes bruxism. Often this condition is caused by several of them:
Psychological factors. Stress, tension, fairs, experienced emotional traumas and different depression forms. Many physicians think that they are the most common and initial bruxism causes.
Sleep disorders. Snoring, obstructive sleep apnea (breathing pauses during sleep), talking in the sleep, sleep paralysis, hysteric and aggressive behavior during sleep, hallucinations (occurring when being in the state of being sleeping and awakened). Some organizations found out that obstructive sleep apnea is a huge risk factor to occur teeth grinding in the sleep.
Personality type. It also may cause the occurrence of bruxism. Usually bruxism experience hyperactive, aggressive or very sensitive people. People who hold suppressed anger or are very self-controlled clench their teeth very hard.
Malocclusion. It forms when teeth erupt irregularly, the form of teeth is irregular or sealants, crowns or bridges are too high or too low. In such a case person is trying to give his or her teeth a more correct, convenient position. As a result, the teeth rub against each other and cause crunching sound.
Malnutrition. Bruxism can occur due to the lack of certain vitamins and minerals, especially magnesium and B group vitamins.
Bruxism can result from other disease. In patients with Parkinson’s, Huntington’s diseases or who have endocrine disorders, neurological diseases, nervous system tumors, cerebral cortex or stem disorders (epilepsy).
Medicines (antidepressants), alcohol, tobacco, drugs (cocaine, ecstasy).
Bruxism can occur as a response to pain caused by traumas or severe diseases.
Period of jaw growing and teeth erupting. It’s the main bruxism cause in children. It is thought that while occlusion is forming, teeth grinding is a physiological process. Usually it occurs when first deciduous teeth erupt or when starts to erupt permanent teeth, that is, about the age of 5 – 7. Usually bruxism vanishes when children grow up.
Even though bruxism looks like an innocent phenomenon, the consequences of it may be harsh.
First of all, teeth are wearing, sealants may chip. Due to a long lasting bruxism, may crack or break up dental prosthesis. Eventually inside the tooth close to gum form wedge-shaped defects that are very sensitive to cold and when touching with nail. Teeth having irregular position may start to move and eventually fall out. It may cause the pain in lower jaw joint, biting marks inside the mouth and increase teeth movement. In the morning a person may feel pain in jaw and headache. Bruxism is far more dangerous then caries, because it affects all teeth at once. It is not treatable by medicine or waking up the person.
The most important thing is to diagnose this disorder in time. Most cases of bruxism are noticed and treated too late, when person needs prosthesis or even have teeth to be pulled out. Therefore, it is very important to notice bruxism as soon as possible in order to treat the cause of it, but not consequences.
In order to eliminate bruxism, firstly it is recommended to avoid stress or to handle with it better. Also when fighting with bruxism:
- are polished too high sealants and adjusted occlusion;
- it is recommended not to use spice food before sleep;
- hot bath, herbal tea and relaxation exercises are relaxing;
- prescribed vitamin therapy to reduce spasmodic masticatory muscle activity during sleep;
- it is recommended to cover worn enamel areas with sealants. It is not only a great option for children and adults, but also a long-term protection.
In dental clinic following the indication is being manufactured bruxism molds wearing at night in order the teeth won’t touch with each other. The mold strengthens teeth, evenly distribute the load and eventually wean from teeth grinding.
Prepared by dental hygienist Diana Stonkutė