Did you know that 6-8% of adults suffer from bruxism, a condition whose incidence rate decreases with age?

What is bruxism?

Bruxism, also called “teeth grinding,” is an orofacial motor activity that can damage teeth over time. There are two types of bruxism: diurnal (daytime) and nocturnal (nighttime). Daytime bruxism is a so-called “static” bruxism that involves clenching your teeth and usually occurs when you are stressed or anxious. Since the person is awake, they can manage the clenching of the teeth by learning to control the cause.

Nocturnal bruxism, known as dynamic, consists of grinding your teeth unconsciously during sleep. It is characterized by repetitive or sustained contractions of the closing muscles of the jaw, in a back and forth grinding and friction motion that can damage the teeth.

Note that if bruxism is often caused by stress, taking certain medications, such as antidepressants, can lead to its appearance.

How do you know if you suffer from bruxism?

Beyond the fact that bruxism or grinding your teeth during sleep often bothers your partner, this condition is accompanied by many symptoms that are fairly easy to recognize. You might suffer from:

  • Chronic headache (frequent)
  • Migrains
  • Painful jaw and painful joints (TMJ)
  • Muscles aches (cheeks and temples, difficulty opening mouth)
  • Dental wear leading to sensitivity and pain
  • Fracture and ceramic burst
  • Stiff neck and muscular tensions around the head (temples), neck (cervical) and shoulders
  • Muscle fatigue and non-restorative sleep

What diagnosis has your health care provider given you?

If you experience any of the above symptoms, it is best to consult your family doctor or dentist, who may diagnose one or more conditions that could benefit from temporomandibular joint treatment (or TMJ). Some of the most common reasons for consultation that lead patients to our clinic are:

  • TMJ arthralgia
  • TMJ myofascial pain
  • Trismus
  • Disc dislocation
  • Closed lock/open lock
  • TMJ joint noise
  • Atypical pain
  • Neck pain/postural problem
  • Headache/migraine
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Dizziness/vertigo/tinnitus

How do you treat bruxism?

To diagnose bruxism, home or sleep lab monitoring is needed. Unfortunately, nocturnal bruxism itself cannot be treated, but it can be controlled. If you have been diagnosed, it is essential to manage your bruxism to prevent tooth wear, impact on orofacial structures and other potential problems for your general well-being, such as:

  • Wear and fracture of your natural teeth and porcelains,
  • Potentially irreversible tooth fracture,
  • Cracking when opening or closing your mouth,
  • Muscle spasms leading to chronic morning headaches,
  • Failed implant placement for fractured teeth,
  • Periodontal problems including receding gums,
  • Disruption of postural control of your jaw and neck.

Wearing a bite plate or a deprogrammer to control bruxism is generally the recommended solution.

Contact us now to find out which option is best for you.