Bruxism or Night Grinding is an oral parafunctional activity which is characterized by the grinding or clenching of the jaw. It is an involuntary action that often occurs when the person is asleep, so it is experienced at night and even in the daytime.
Depending on the act of grinding, wear facets on a “bruxer” can be observed on the anterior teeth (the incisors and canine), but it can also be found on the posterior teeth, when the grinding is most severe. The damage on the teeth is the most obvious effect of bruxism. The lateral grinding, however, strains the medial pterygoid muscles as well as the temporomandibular joints, leading to earaches, headaches, depression, anxiety and eating disorders.
Bruxism, although often a standalone condition, can often be related to cases of Alzheimer’s disease, chronic stress and alcohol abuse.
Bruxism is often misdiagnosed because there are different reasons why wear facets can be observed in a patient’s mouth. Experienced Saratoga dentist, Dr. Prasad can differentiate wear facets caused by bruxing, erosion effects due to acid exposure, aggressive brushing and abrasive foods.
A small electromyography called a BiteStrip can effectively diagnose the presence of teeth grinding in a patient. It monitors the activity of the jaw muscles when the patient is asleep, assessing even the frequency and intensity of said activity.
If you are a bruxer, you should know that you are not in a hopeless situation. Your Saratoga dentist can talk to you about your options:
1. Mouthguards – these are made of acrylic and they are created by taken an impression of either of the patient’s jaws. The appliance has a vacuum fit, so it is comfortable to wear during sleep.
2. Botox – most popular as a cosmetic product, botox can be injected into the muscles to relax and weaken them. When the muscles are relaxed the grinding action is prevented and further damage is avoided.
3. NTI-tss device – this device is designed to cover the anterior or front teeth. The device prevents the contact of the upper and lower molars, thus limiting the contraction of the temporalis muscles.
In our Saratoga dental office, mouth guards or sports guards are the most popular treatment for teeth grinding, but the appliance has other applications and uses. As a matter of fact, the use of mouth guards or sports guards are encouraged during various recreational and sporting activities.
Know more about mouthguards and their positive effects on your oral health.
Not a lot of patients understand the necessity for treating and managing teeth grinding, but when you understand what really happens when the disease is allowed to progress, you can help yourself avoid the following:
Call Argonaut Dental at (408) 867-1800 to help you with your bruxism and overall dental health.