Bruxism (teeth grinding)
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, the information on these pages is gathered from my own experience, books, websites, and other people's experience. I will not be held responsible for any injury resulting from this information. If you have a medical condition, you should seek qualified medical advice and supervision at all times.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is where a person involuntarily grinds their teeth and clenches their jaw. Most people will do this sometime during their life, but when it becomes a chronic problem, the teeth are drastically worn down due to the constant grinding. Bruxism is usually occurs at night time, where it is one of the more common sleep disorders, but can occur during the day time, especially during very stressful periods.
What causes bruxism?
Doctors do not yet know what causes bruxism, but they suggest that chronic or idiopathic pain, other illnesses, anxiety, digestion problems, allergies, poor diet, and nervous system problems may all be causes. Jaw pain is not common, except where teeth grinding happens very regularly and for a long time.
It has been suggested that some medications may cause bruxism, including anti-depressants, as well as caffeine, stimulant drugs, and a high blood alcohol level. Huntington's and Parkinson's diseases may also cause bruxism.
Chronic bruxism may lead to a number of secondary problems, such as increased tooth decay, ear aches, headaches, temperomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, and myofacial pain, and even arthritis in the jaw area. However, bruxism may also be a symptom of these problems, making diagnosis quite difficult.
How is bruxism detected?
It is usually diagnosed when dentists notice the teeth are being worn down abnormally quickly, or if teeth have fractures.
Weak teeth or those with fillings may also collapse.
Bruxism is very difficult to treat as it is often a symptom of another complex problem, such as fibromyalgia.
- To protect the teeth, night mouth guards can be worn, and should be fitted by dentists.
- Alternative treatments include supplementation with magnesium and calcium (to relax muscles), mediation for stress management, and using lavender to help with insomnia.
- Worn teeth can be replaced with porcelain crowns.
- Treating an underlying problem (sleep disorders, stress, depression, anger) often reduces or eliminates teeth grinding.