Teeth Grinding( bruxism)

Bruxism is the involuntary clenching, grinding and gnashing of the teeth. About half of the population does it from time to time. Around five per cent of the population are regular, forceful tooth grinders. Often it happens during sleep, but some people grind their teeth when they are awake. 

Usually, a person doesn’t realize that they grind their teeth in their sleep. The partner who shares their bed (and hears the grinding noises at night) is often the first to notice the problem. Parents may also hear it in their sleeping children.

Teeth grinding can be a result of stress. For example, some people grind their teeth when they are angry, concentrating or feeling anxious. Symptoms of teeth grinding

Lately there is new information that has come to the fore that dental malocclusion and jaw malalignment also contributes to a great measure towards bruxism.

Signs and symptoms of bruxism include:

• grinding sounds while the person is asleep

• headache, jaw joint and/or ear pain

• aching teeth, particularly just after waking up

• aching and/or stiffness of the face and temples just after waking up

• aching or stiffness in the jaws while chewing, particularly during breakfast

• clenching the jaw when angry, anxious or concentrating

• temperature-sensitive teeth

• cracked or chipped tooth enamel

• tooth indentations on the tongue

• raised tissue on the inside of the cheek caused by biting

• loose teeth.

. Bony swellings in the mandible on the tongue side or in the palate.

Effects of teeth grinding

Problems caused by tooth grinding may include:

• pain in the jaw joints (also known as temporo-mandibular   joint) or limited movement

• cracked tooth enamel

• more wear and tear on the teeth than is normal

• broken teeth or broken restorations (for example, fillings)

• sore jaw muscles

• tooth loss (rare)

• enlargement of the jaw muscles (rare).

Causes of teeth grinding

Some of the many factors believed to trigger teeth grinding include:

• emotional stress, such as anger or anxiety

• mental concentration

• physical stress, such as illness, poor nutrition or long-term pain

• some dental treatments, such as fillings that sit ‘too high’

• drug use (particularly amphetamines)

• when teeth are coming through in babies and children.

Treatment for teeth grinding

If you think you grind your teeth, see your dentist or other oral health professional as soon as possible. They will look at your teeth and talk about possible treatment options that may include:

• Repair of tooth damage

• Fixing fillings that are too high

• A special mouthguard (‘bite splints’) to wear at night so that the guard is worn down instead of your teeth. In most cases, a bite splint will only help with the                      symptoms and will not stop you from grinding altogether.

• orthodontics  treatment  and dental facial orthopedics 

• Another area that has not been given a lot of attention and which could go a long way towards management of bruxism is relaxation exercises. These are incorporated         in the Yoga discipline- you could check them out.