Bruxism is a health condition where one grinds their teeth and clenches the jaws together. There is no specific group of people that this condition affects. It does not choose whether one is young or old, male or female or which race they belong to. However, it is more common in young children than in people of older ages.
This is because their teeth and jaws are not fully developed and can easily be damaged. As they develop and the condition is treated, Bruxism disappears as they get into their teenage years. This does not therefore mean that older people should not be cautious about their dental health just because they do not fall in that vulnerable group.
There are basically two kinds of Bruxism. This grouping is mostly based on the time at which the Bruxism is more prominent. For instance those who are known to grind their teeth during the day are said to be suffering from awake Bruxism since it happens when they are most active. On the other hand, there is sleep Bruxism.
As the name suggests, this is experienced when one grinds their teeth while asleep. This is often accompanied by the person kicking and moving about in their sleep. Sadly, there are people who suffer from this condition yet are unaware of this fact. Bruxism. poses a challenge to one’s dental health and general body health and should be dealt with as soon as it is diagnosed.
Causes Of Bruxism
One of the leading contributing factors to Bruxism is one’s mental state either at that particular time or over the years. For instance, there are people who when angry or anxious about something, find themselves grinding their teeth involuntary. The more the tension, the faster they grind, hence the greater the effect on their teeth. People with mental disorders are also likely to suffer from Bruxism.
The most common and obvious cause of sleep Bruxism is a sleeping disorder. People who suffer from this are likely to have difficulty in sleeping peacefully. As they sleep, one will notice they move their limbs and some even snore. This is when sleep bruiser kicks in and within no time, they start to clench the jaws and grind their teeth.
Although not common to many, there are nerve diseases and conditions that may lead to Bruxism. An example of this is the Parkinson’s disease that affects one’s movements. This is particularly seen in patients who are advanced in age.
Signs & Symptoms Of Bruxism
The symptom that is easiest to identify with Bruxism is definitely the grinding of the teeth. More often than not, this tends to be very loud and easily noticed. In addition to that, there are a number of symptoms that are experienced with this grinding and clenching. These symptoms are actually what helps a dentist to diagnose Bruxism.
These other symptoms include:
- Amplified tooth sensitivity, particularly to hot and cold drinks
- Headaches which increase in intensity with time
- Feeling of pain in the ears
- Several dents on the tongue
- Irregular appearance of the teeth as the teeth are chipped and fractured
- Soreness of the jaws
- Difficulty in chewing food
Bruxism. is not a condition to be given a cold shoulder when diagnosed as it can have serious consequences if not treated. For children, it is likely to cause respiratory problems that may affect the breathing of the child, promoting diseases like asthma and anxiety disorders.
If the condition is not dealt with at the initial stages, it may lead to irregular alignment of the teeth in both the upper and lower jaws. In other cases, the condition worsens to the extent that one cannot open their jaw as the pain is unbearable.
A person suffering from Bruxism is also likely to suffer from further development of mental problems. Such people are prone to suffer from serious anger issues that lead them to unleash their anger on others, sometimes even without a reasonable cause. As the condition worsens, the patient becomes frustrated eventually leading to depression.
Bruxism Treatment Methods
From the magnitude of the risks Bruxism causes, it is only judicious that one secures the necessary treatment for it. There are primarily two methods that can be used to treat this condition. One solely revolves around conventional medicine and procedures.
On the other side are the non-conventional methods that are founded on natural methods to heal the patient. For both these methods, finding the root cause of Bruxism is vital as it will determine which method will be most effective.
The main focus of the natural treatment is on psychological treatment. Majority of Bruxism's patients undergo stress management. This involves discovering what sparks off their anger and if there are any underlying factors that ignite the anger in them. Once this is done, they are taught how to cope with these issues.
In addition to talking about their problems with professionals they are also advised to engage in exercises like yoga that help not only help them to keep fit but to also relax. When a positive spirit develops in the person, they will slowly start to reduce their grinding of teeth and clenching of jaws and in time, the condition will subside.
Behavioral therapy is another way to treat Bruxism. How this works is that one learns methods to operate now that they know they have this condition. A dentist will show you how to sleep well in a certain way that will not promote sleep Bruxism. If you mostly experience this condition during the day, you will need to learn how to position your jaw well so that you do not have the grinding of teeth and clenching of the jaws.
Developing a balanced diet with all the required nutrients is also a good way to deal with Bruxism. Eating foods rich in vitamins like Vitamin C are a good way to help the body deal with Bruxism. Vitamin C is good for handling stress and general good body health.
In addition to that, such patients are advised to incorporate minerals that the body requires to deal with Bruxism., in their meals. Calcium is one of these minerals as it will lead to development of strong teeth hence making it hard for the teeth to wear off due to Bruxism.
It is also important to avoid certain activities that instigate Bruxism. Such activities include drinking alcohol and the use of other drugs such as ecstasy which make the body more vulnerable to this condition. The use of caffeine can also be considered to worsen the condition. It is therefore better to avoid these things as much as possible.
Conventional treatment mainly focuses on the physical aspect of the condition. The first step for this is visiting a dentist who will examine the patient and assess the severity of the condition. The main objective of this type of treatment is to ease the symptoms and eventually cause the grinding and chewing to subside. It is also done to repair the damage that has been caused by Bruxism.
One way to do this is by undergoing an alignment process. This is when the dental surgeon does an oral procedure to help the teeth get to the place they should be. This often comes as a last resort for those whose teeth have gone out of place completely due to the continuous chewing and grinding. For those who have just started experiencing the condition, the better option probably would be to wear braces or using crowns to align the teeth.
Another approach is the use of mouth guards. This is mostly used by those suffering from sleep Bruxism. as it mostly happens when they do not have control over their bodies. A custom-made mouth guard is given to the patient which helps to keep the jaws apart hence creating a non-conducive environment for Bruxism.
If the natural psychiatric treatment does not help one cope with their feelings and general mental state, the doctor may prescribe pills for the conditions. This mostly involves antidepressants and muscle relaxants. They make one calm down, reducing the chances of Bruxism manifesting itself.
When all of the above methods seem not to work, some doctors would suggest that the patient goes through Botox. Sometimes doctors will advise you to go for Botox since it is more efficient than dental devices that are used during treatment. Botox treats Bruxism.
By weakening the jaw muscles so that involuntary grinding of teeth and clenching of jaw stops. Some believe that this method has proven to be the most effective of them all. However, there may be side effects that arise from this and it is important that one is aware of them before agreeing to the whole procedure.
Bruxism is a real condition that everyone should be made aware of as it can happen even without one knowing they have it. After diagnosis, the right treatment method should be used and within no time, one will feel better.
It should not be something one should be ashamed of admitting that they are suffering from. In fact the sooner one speaks out about it, the better their chances for a better lifestyle.