Bruxism is an oral parafunctional (outside the normal function) activity that occurs in many people. It is characterized by excessive grinding of the teeth and/or clenching of the jaw. These actions usually occur during a person’s sleeping hours but occasionally occur during the day.
Bruxism is one of the most common known sleep disorders. Many people are unaware of this condition as it occurs during sleep. The most common symptoms are the resulting wear of the teeth from grinding, sore facial muscles and headaches.
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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 cause breakdown of the supporting bone.
- Facial pain. Grinding can eventually shorten and blunt the teeth. This can lead to muscle pain in the facial or temporal region and in severe cases lead to severe headaches.
- Occlusal trauma. The abnormal wear patterns on the occlusal (chewing) surfaces of the teeth can lead to fractures which may require extensive 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 our office to help treat bruxism:
- Occlusal Appliances. All acrylic or a combination of wire and acrylic appliances are fabricated on dental impressions. They are used to minimize the abrasive grinding action during normal sleep. These appliances are worn on a long-term basis to help prevent tooth damage.
- NTI-tss device: This device only covers the front teeth and must be fitted at our office. The idea behind the NTI-tss is to prevent grinding the rear molars by limiting the contraction of the temporalis muscles that close the jaw.