What is Bruxism exactly?
Teeth grinding/ teeth clenching is a condition in which a person grinds or clenches his/her teeth voluntarily or involuntarily. Teeth clenching is also known as bruxism. During bruxism, clenching or grinding of teeth can happen during day- time (consciously) or during the night-time (unconsciously). Sleep bruxism MS is a movement disorder linked to sleep and can be associated with other sleep disturbances, such as snoring (sleep apnea).
What are the complications associated with Bruxism MS?
Bruxism can lead to severe complications like jaw disorders, headaches, broken teeth, temporomandibular disorders (TMD).
There will be undue tension on your muscles and tissues around the jaw joint, and the temporomandibular joint itself as you grind your teeth. This results in the onset or rise of the symptoms of TMD. In the upper and lower teeth relationship (occlusion), grinding of the teeth causes the teeth’ wearing and results in loss of balance in occlusion.
What are the risk factors of Bruxism?
There are many risk factors associated with bruxism ms-
- Strong emotions like anger, frustration, anxiety, and stress.
- Age – more common in younger age.
- Family history
- Caffeinated drinks
- Recreational drugs
- Sleep apnea
- Personality style – Possessing an offensive, competitive, or hyperactive personality style will enhance the odds of developing bruxism.
- Medications – Few psychiatric medications, such as antidepressants, may cause bruxism as an unusual side effect.
- Neurological disorders (epilepsy, Parkinson’s, dementia),
- Other disorders like gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD).
What are the symptoms of bruxism MS?
The following signs and symptoms can identify frequent clenching or grinding teeth –
- Grinding or clenching forces of teeth, which can be loud enough to wake up your sleeping partner
- Flattened, broken, chipped, or loose teeth
- Worn tooth enamel, revealing the tooth’s deeper layers
- Increased pain in the tooth or sensitivity
- Muscles of the jaw that are tired or rigid, or a locked jaw that does not open or closes fully
- Pain or soreness in the jaw, neck, or face
- Pain that resembles an earache without an issue with the ear
- Dull headache that begins at the temples
- Disruption of sleep
- Waking up the next morning with unexplained pain in the facial muscles
- Leads to temporal bone displacement
How to manage bruxism?
Mild bruxism might not require further intervention. Bruxism or clenching of front teeth can be self-managed by adopting stress management measures, like meditation and mindfulness practices, into daily activities.
If bruxism MS is severe and left untreated, it leads to complications like damaged teeth, crown or jaw, severe facial and jaw pain, tension-type headaches, and TMD. Hence, you must get your bruxism addressed by a TMJ specialist at the earliest. A TMJ specialist would be able to address bruxism by giving you an appliance called a splint. This will not only reduce bruxism but also alleviate your TMD and enhance the quality of your life.
What is a dental splint?
Bite plates and mouth guards are the two types of dental splints (occlusal splints). A dentist customizes them for every ms patient. They are usually constructed of clear plastic. They fit under and over the upper and lower teeth respectively.
Dental splints act as an insulator between the upper and lower teeth and avoid teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism). Thus, they reduce muscle stress and discomfort. Splints are often used at night when people seem to clench or grit their teeth during sleep.
Are dental splints for Bruxism MS uncomfortable?
During the initial period, wearing a dental splint can be quite uncomfortable because it is foreign object in your mouth. However, over time you will get used to it and you will barely notice it. In case, if you experience any worsening of jaw pain or severe discomfort, contact your dentist so that your dental team can evaluate the cause of discomfort.