Bruxism is an oral parafunctional activity that commonly occurs in most people at some point in their lives. The two main characteristics of this condition are grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw. These actions usually occur during a person’s sleeping hours, but occasionally they occur during the day.
Bruxism is one of the most common known sleep disorders. Chewing is a neuromuscular activity controlled by a subconscious process, but more highly controlled by the brain. During sleep, the subconscious process may become active, while the higher control is inactive (asleep), resulting in bruxism. The most common symptoms are earaches and headaches, depression, eating disorders and anxiety, and chronic stress.
Why should I seek treatment for Bruxism?
- Gum recession. Bruxism is a leading cause of gum recession and tooth loss. Grinding can damage the soft tissue directly and lead to loose teeth and deep pockets where bacteria are able to colonize and decay the supporting bone.
- Facial pain. Grinding can eventually shorten and blunt the teeth. This can lead to muscle pain in the myofascial region and in severe cases incapacitating headaches.
- Occlusal trauma. The abnormal wear patterns on the occlusal (chewing) surfaces of the teeth can lead to fractures, which if left untreated may require restorative treatment at a later time.
- Arthritis. In the most severe cases, bruxism can eventually lead to painful arthritis in the temporomandibular (TMJ) joints that allow the jaw to open and close smoothly.
Though there is no known cure for bruxism, there are a variety of devices and services available through our office to help treat bruxism:
- Mouthguards. An acrylic mouthguard can be designed from teeth impressions to minimize the abrasive grinding action during normal sleep. Mouthguards are expected to be worn on a long-term basis to help prevent tooth damage.
Once bruxing is under control, we can perform a variety of dental procedures to restore the pleasant aesthetic appearance to your smile such as crown application. gum grafts, and crown lengthening.
A bite is considered to be healthy when all or most of the teeth are present and not destroyed by normal daily usage.
It is destructive when teeth show wear, looseness or when TMJ (jaw joint) damage is seen. Bite therapy helps restore a bite that can function without damage and destruction. The therapy may include:
- Reshaping the biting surfaces of the teeth and eliminating spots of excessive pressures where the teeth are brought into contact. This is done by carefully dividing bite pressures evenly across all of the teeth.
- Bite splint therapy using a custom-fitted and adjusted plastic bite guard to keep the teeth apart, day, night, or both.
- Braces to reposition mal-aligned or drifted teeth.
- Replacement of old, worn out, or damaged fillings.
- Reconstruction of badly worn and damaged teeth