Bruxism is a sleep disorder characterized by the subconscious clenching of the jaw and grinding the teeth while the patient is asleep. Bruxism is often a symptom of sleep apnea, a sleep disorder where the patient experiences frequent pauses in breathing and blockages in the airway. Ignoring bruxism for a considerable duration can lead to more complicated symptoms that may affect your everyday routine.
What are the symptoms of bruxism?
- The teeth may face severe wear, due to which they may become extremely sensitive, look shorter than usual, undergo surface cracks, etc.
- The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) that connect the lower jaw to the skull may undergo excessive stress, making it difficult to move the jaw. This can be experienced as limited movement of the jaws, pain while biting or chewing food, brushing the teeth, yawning, etc.
- Since the biting surfaces of the teeth wear away, it may seem uncomfortable to bite or chew food.
- The root canal cavity of the teeth may be exposed to the microbes in the mouth, thus significantly increasing the chances of developing a dental infection.
- Patients may experience lockjaw, due to which their jaw may be stuck in an open position for a brief period.
- Swelling or inflammation of the tissues surrounding the TMJ.
- Clicking or popping sound in the TMJ when you move the jaw.
How is bruxism treated?
The dentist will conduct a thorough diagnosis of your oral condition and determine how best to treat it. We would recommend using a night-time bruxism guard, which would be customized according to the contour of your oral setup. The bruxism guard is made from dental-grade plastic, allowing it to retain its shape for a long duration. It keeps the teeth from the upper and lower jaw from coming in contact with each other, thereby completely avoiding the chances of abrasive wear of the enamel. If the condition is complicated and linked to the alignment of the jaw, we may have to perform surgery to change the positioning of the jaw.
Additionally, patients would have to make subtle changes to their everyday routine. Being conscious of the jaw movement and avoiding clenching the jaw can help prevent excessive stress from being applied to the TMJ. Massaging the TMJ relieves the stress lodged in the tissues, enabling the lower jaw's better movement. It would be advisable to avoid frequent snacking.
You may schedule a consultation with our team of dental experts by calling us or reaching us through an online query. We're always happy to help.