Relief from Teeth Grinding and Clenching
Bruxism (grinding) and clenching are oral parafunctional activities that commonly occur in most people at some point in their lives. 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?
- Progression of periodontal disease. Grinding and clenching your teeth is traumatic and although it doesn’t cause gum disease it accelerates its progression.
- 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.
Bruxism Treatment Options
Managing your bruxism is done in collaboration with your referring dental practitioner. Though there is no known cure for bruxism (grinding), there are a variety of devices and services available to help manage it:
- Mouthguards. An acrylic mouthguard can be designed from teeth impressions to minimize the abrasive grinding action during normal sleep. Mouthguards must be 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 muscle in the jaw.
- Botox®: Botox® can be injected into the muscles responsible for bruxing by disabling them enough to prevent grinding, but not enough to disrupt normal functions like speaking and chewing.