Bruxism which is the clenching and grinding of the teeth can be one of the ways we deal with the everyday stress. While most bruxism occurs during sleep, we may also find ourselves clenching our teeth during the day. Early management of this condition is important because of the potential for permanent damage.
Many patients experience only minor damages as a result of bruxism because they grind their teeth infrequently. More severe grinding can lead to: jaw muscle pain, headaches, tooth sensitivity, premature tooth wear, loose teeth, temporal and mandibular joint disease also known as TMJ. Bruxism is often a result of stress, when our muscles are over worked during clenching and grinding pain may result.
The areas that can be affected are the jaw muscles, temples, behind the ear, as well as the entire head and neck. Specific muscles are used to move the jaw during chewing. When clenching and grinding occur these muscles do not function properly and become straind. The strain can produce muscle knots, inflammation and pain.
The goal of any therapy for bruxism is to reduce the symptoms or perhaps alleviate any behavior all together. Bruxism can be made worse by poor sleep habits, high caffeine intake, poor stress management, incorrect bite and drugs. Muscle pain reduction therapy may involve massage, hot and cold compresses, stretching exercises and may include muscle relaxants, anti inflammatories and steroids. The recommended treatment cause is determined by your dentist according to your specific. Your dentist may also prescribe a night guard for you.
The night guard can unload your jaw joint of stresses and will continue to train your muscles to be relaxed during the day and also eliminates tooth wear during grinding. Many factors affect whether bruxism is a constant problem. Many factors can be easily changed while others can be impossible to change. The best way to eliminate bruxism is to stress less the mind and body.