Bruxism is an oral parafunctional activity that commonly occurs for 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, headaches, depression, eating disorders, 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, cause unbearable 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.
- 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 Dr. Noraian’s office to help treat bruxism:
- Bite Adjustment. Careful, selective adjustment of high spots on the chewing surfaces of the teeth distributes the load on the teeth, which reduces damage.
- Bite Guards. Dr. Noraian can design an acrylic bite guard from teeth impressions to minimize the abrasive grinding action during normal sleep. To help prevent tooth damage, you should wear your bite guard on a long-term basis.
Once bruxing is under control, Dr. Noraian 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.