Bruxism is the habit of involuntarily grinding or clenching your teeth. It can occur in both men and women of any age and can cause tooth wear and TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) problems
Bruxism: Grinding and wear of the teeth.
Sometimes teeth grinding runs in the family, while at others it may be caused by alterations in the central nervous system, sleep disorders and stress.
Grinding your teeth, as well as causing dental wear, can be noisy at night and disturb the sleep of others in your bedroom.
It can also cause headaches, muscle pain, particularly in the morning, and pain or swelling of the joints connecting the lower jaw to the skull (TMJ) and insomnia.
Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) occur in 40-75% of the population. They affect the muscles, joints and nerves connecting the lower jaw to the base of the skull, causing a variety of symptoms and even facial pain in the more serious cases. The most common is TMJD or Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome, which affects the temporomandibular joint.
Often the cause is unknown. However, it can be related to tooth grinding (bruxism), poor bite articulation or a badly fitting prosthesis, stress and arthritis.
- Discomfort when biting or chewing
- A clicking noise when you open or close your mouth
- Pain in your face, ears or head
- Difficulty when opening and closing your mouth and even a locked jaw
Treatment for TMJ and Bruxism
In the majority of people affected the symptoms are occasional and only last for a short time. However, with time, if nothing is done about it, the symptoms or problems will gradually get worse and last for longer.
Treatment will reduce the pain, prevent damage to your teeth and help you to stop grinding them as much as possible. This means re-establishing the balance between the muscles, the joints and the teeth using orthodontic techniques or a mouth guard.
Following a number of personal care steps can also help to treat and prevent TMJ problems, such as: Avoiding hard food and chewing gum, using relaxation techniques to reduce stress, stretching exercises for your neck, shoulder and face muscles.