November 30, 2022

What is it?

Bruxism or teeth grinding is a condition which affects adults as well as children. It is estimated millions of people in the UK suffer from Bruxism.

Some people only grind their teeth at night while asleep, this is called nocturnal Bruxism, or sleep related Bruxism. Some individuals may grind their teeth during daytime hours also, especially when facing a situation which makes them feel tense or anxious.

For some people with Bruxism it can be severe enough to damage teeth and fracture fillings.

Severe Bruxism has also been blamed for morning headaches and unexplained facial pain.

Bruxism can have a variety of psychological and physical causes. In many cases, it has been linked to stress, but it can also simply be the body’s reaction to poor alignment or occlusion of the teeth (the way the teeth come together). Bruxism can sometimes occur as a complication of severe brain injury, or as a symptom of certain rare neuromuscular diseases involving the face. Bruxism can also be an uncommon side effect of some psychiatric medications, including antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).

Symptoms of Bruxism include:

Rhythmic contractions of the jaw muscles.

A grinding sound at night, which may disturb the sleep of someone who shares a bedroom with a “bruxier.”

A dull morning headache.

Jaw muscles that are tight or painful, especially in the morning.

Chronic facial pain.

Damaged teeth, fractured dental fillings and injured gums.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your current life stresses, your general dental health and your daily medications. He or she also will want to know whether you routinely drink beverages containing alcohol or caffeine, because both of these chemicals seem to increase the tendency to brut.

If you share your bedroom, the doctor may also want to ask that person about your sleep habits, especially about any unusual grinding sounds heard during the night.

Your doctor will perform a physical examination with special attention to your mouth and jaw. During this exam, your doctor will check for tenderness in your jaw muscles, as well as for any obvious dental abnormalities, such as broken teeth, missing teeth or poor tooth alignment. If your doctor suspects that you have Bruxism that is related to dental problems, he or she may refer you to a dentist for more assessment. In addition to checking your “bite,” the dentist will examine your teeth and gums for damage caused by Bruxism.

If your child display this condition, discuss the problem with your family dentist. Although many children eventually outgrow Bruxism, even short-term tooth grinding can cause damage to your child’s permanent teeth.

Treatment, depending on the cause can include, stress management, muscle relaxants, referral to your dentist, or if caused by medications a switch to other medication. Hypnotherapy and counseling can be used to aid relaxation, manage stress and help work through any anxieties or worries which may be troubling the individual.

As always if in any doubt, contact your doctor.

I hope this article was informative.