“Bruxism” – many of you might be hearing about this condition for the very first time. Even I heard about it the first time when I was having a discussion with one of my friends as he was going through the bruxism treatment. I found this disease very interesting because I never thought this common habit could be a disease or serious medical condition. Then I started to learn more about it and tried to explore the reason causing this disease and common visible symptoms. To avoid any serious medical/oral condition, Identify and monitor the symptoms highlighted in this article.
In a simple term, Bruxism is a condition in which a person grind, gnash his or her teeth or clench neck extensively. Bruxism is a common behaviour therefore many of us really don’t notice if someone is suffering from excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching or in some cases we ourselves.
When people are in stress or angry, they sometimes clench their jaw and grind their teeth. This situation well defines Bruxism. This can happen for a day or sometimes lasting a few days and in some cases, it can go on for months. That long term grinding can really cause an oral problem like tooth fracture, tooth loosening or loss.
It is a very common habit and most of the times people do not even notice. It could not have any serious oral impact if you are doing it rarely but it is time to worry when you start seeing some jaw or teeth related problems. Therefore, next time when you do it, be cautious and notice if, you doing to so often. Start looking for its symptoms listed in this article.
Even though it is considered a common behaviour but this habit has the most destructive forces because in this condition grinding of teeth may occur 1 to 4 hours in a 24-hour period, most often during sleep.
The amount of pressure placed on teeth during Bruxism can range from 2.07–20.7 mega-pascals (300–3,002 psi) than the normal pressure (140–550 Kilopascals (20–80 psi)). Sounds surprising?
Awake bruxism is more common in females, whereas males and females are seen to be affected in equal proportions by sleep bruxism. Age is also a factor, as bruxism is more common it usually goes away by adulthood.
Type of Bruxism:
Bruxism is an unconscious behaviour. There are mainly two types of bruxism i.e. nocturnal bruxism or night bruxism, which occurs during sleep and awake bruxism, which occurs when you are awake. So, if you have bruxism, you may unconsciously clench your teeth either when awake called awake bruxism or during the sleep called sleep bruxism or nocturnal bruxism.
Your friends and families can notice sleep bruxism, which also called as Nocturnal Bruxism, when they hear the grinding noise or your jaw movement while you are sleep. Sleep bruxism or nocturnal bruxism, results in sore jaw, headache and dull feeling in the morning however, this improves throughout the day.
While Awake Bruxism is very different from the sleep bruxism, you do not feel pain when you wake up but the symptoms and pain worsen throughout the day. The patient might not make clicking or grinding.
Why most people don’t know about Bruxism?
Well, answer to this question would be because of lack of awareness, and because its symptoms are invisible most of the time, most of us do not know about this and symptoms. Several symptoms are commonly associated with bruxism, including hypersensitive teeth, aching jaw muscles, headaches, tooth wear, and damage to dental restorations like a dental crown and dental fillings. We will discuss the symptoms of Bruxism in this article.
Which Type of Bruxism Is More Dangerous?
Bruxism may develop similar Dental damage in both the types, but the symptoms of sleep bruxism tend to be worse because the patient may have sleep bruxism and be unaware of it until complications develop.
People who have sleep bruxism are more likely to have other sleep disorders, such as snoring and sleep apnea (pauses in breathing). Therefore, it is very important to know the signs and symptoms of bruxism and consider regular dental care.
Does it require treatment?
Well, Mild bruxism may not require treatment. However, in some causes serious damage to the jaw and teeth to people. In some people, Bruxism can be frequent enough to lead to jaw disorders, damaged teeth and other problems, which need treatment.
Now, as we know about the Bruxism, let us move on and find the common symptoms, which could be visible in patients. Before we proceed, I would like to make it clear that, the bruxism has many symptoms that are similar to those of other conditions. Consult your dentist to know more about the type of Bruxism, cause and its seriousness.
Signs and symptoms of bruxism may include:
As I explained, most people who have bruxism are unaware of the problem, either because there are no symptoms, or because the symptoms are not understood to be associated with clenching and grinding problem.
It is not necessary that every person having this problem will have visible symptoms. Some people might have very minimum, some of them will have clear symptoms whereas some of them will not even feel anything.
The symptoms of sleep bruxism are usually visible, as the person, having this issue will feel the pain in the morning but in the Awake Bruxism situation, they will not feel the pain in the morning however, it worsens throughout the day. Bruxism may cause a variety of signs and symptoms, including:
- Extensive and loud teeth grinding or clenching
- Flattened, fractured, chipped or damaged teeth.
- Increased tooth sensitivity, tooth pain and loosen teeth
- Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth.
- Jaw soreness or Tight jaw muscles or a Tired jaw that won’t open or close completely
- Some people might feel pain in the jaw and neck; however, there is no sign of infection.
- A headache and earache without having a problem with your ear. Jaw muscles movement triggers other related muscles and thus the pain.
- Sleep abnormality like snoring, sleep talking and other disorder link sleep apnea.
- Disorders that occur in the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), located just in front of your ears, which may sound like clicking when you open and close your mouth
What causes Bruxism?
Surprisingly, the cause of teeth grinding or Bruxism is not clear all the time. Doctors do not completely understand what causes bruxism, but it may be due to a combination of physical, psychological and genetic factors.
The cause of bruxism is largely unknown, but it is generally accepted to have multiple possible causes. Most of the times it is linked to both physical and psychological causes, such as stress, anxiety or sleep disorder such as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a unique condition that affects the breathing process; therefore, one must consider seeing a doctor for the diagnosis and treatment.
Awake bruxism may be due to emotions such as anxiety, stress, anger, frustration or tension. Alternatively, it may be a coping strategy or a habit during deep concentration.
Sleep bruxism may be a sleep-related chewing activity associated with sleep arousals.
1. Anger and Stress
Awake bruxism is often associated with stress Anger, anxiety, frustration due to a personal issue or office work/environment. Bruxism on the other side related to a person’s state of mind. Our bodies react to stress whether it is wanted or not.
2. Excessive Caffeine Consumption
Drinking caffeinated drinks, such as soda, high-energy drinks, tea and coffee increases the risks of bruxism. Caffeine is a stimulant that can promote muscle activity and cause frequent waking periods at night.
3. Lifestyle Habits
Modern lifestyle, which includes excessive alcohol, tobacco, and drugs consumption, can increase the risk of bruxism. Drinking alcohol excessively doubles a patient’s chance of developing sleep bruxism. Alcohol is known to break up sleeping patterns.
4. Occlusal factors
Occlusion is defined simply as “contacts between teeth”, and is the meeting of teeth during biting and chewing. Historically, many believed that problems with the bite were the sole cause for bruxism.
Bite and alignment issues with the upper or lower jaw are another common cause of grinding. Something as simple as braces or as extreme as jaw reconstruction are potential fixes, but always discuss this treatment with your dentist to ensure you take the right course of action to correct any malocclusions.
5. Medications and Disorders
Teeth grinding can sometimes be a side effect of taking certain types of medication. Bruxism can be developed due to side effects from psychiatric medications and antidepressants, along with neurological conditions like Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Bruxism may be an uncommon side effect of some psychiatric medications but it may increase the risk of bruxism in longer run.
6. Recreational Drugs
Recreational Drugs is the worst thing which one person can opt for. Stimulants in recreational drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine, ethamphetamine (meth) and heroin increase bruxism. With regular use, these drugs can promote bruxism leading to severe attrition in a short amount of time. An advice to stay away from drugs for healthy life.
7. Family Member Bruxism History
This is very rare but family members with bruxism tend to inherit the same. Sleep bruxism tends to occur in families. If you have bruxism, other members of your family also may have bruxism or a history of it. Consult with your doctor a take action in advance, if you see similar behaviour developing.
8. Sleep disorders
Sleep disorder like snoring, obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), you are more likely to grind your teeth while you sleep. Obstructive sleep apnoea interrupts your breathing while you sleep.
- You are also more likely to grind your teeth if you:
- Talk or mumble while asleep
- Violent behaviour during asleep, such as punching or kicking out.
- Have sleep paralysis (a temporary inability to move or speak while waking up or falling asleep)
- Experience hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real) while semi-conscious
9. Sleep Arousal
The majority (86%) of sleep bruxism episodes occur during periods of sleep arousal. If you do not know about Sleep Arousal, then “Sleep arousals are a sudden change in the depth of the sleep stage, and may also be ccompanied by increased heart rate, respiratory changes and muscular activity, such as leg movements.” Underlying these factors may be psychosocial factors including daytime stress that is disrupting peaceful sleep.
Do I need to see my Dentist?
It is always advisable to see consult your dentist or GP if you facing any oral problem or major symptoms related to Bruxism. Your dentist can only check your teeth, jaw, and confirm signs of teeth grinding or Bruxism.
See your dentist if:
- Your teeth are worn, loose, damaged or becoming sensitive
- You feel pain in your jaw, face, neck or ear and it is everyday problem now.
- your family member especially your partner says you make a grinding sound in your sleep
One may need oral or dental treatment if your teeth are worn through grinding to avoid developing further problems, such as infection or a dental abscess.
What is Next?
If you suspect you suffer from bruxism, start listing any symptoms and call attention to them at your next dental appointment. He or she may want to perform a full exam to confirm any symptoms or signs for sure, and then determine the reasons they have occurred.
I would like to clarify that I am not a qualified doctor but I am someone who is passionate about learning interesting things and sharing with the people. Please consult with your doctor tomorrow about your health condition and oral health.
How do you feel about this information? Let me know in the comment section below.
Now you know
Now you know about Bruxism and answer, what is Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)? Bruxism types, Difference between Awake and Sleep Bruxism. The root cause of the Bruxism. What to do if you have Bruxism?
I hope you found this article useful. Do share your experience if you have any. You can share this article if you find it interesting.