Bruxism refers to grinding of the teeth and the clenching of the jaw which is parafunctional (not associated with normal food chewing).
Typically, the incisors and canines (front 6 upper and lower teeth) of opposing arches grind against each other laterally. This side to side action puts undue strain on the medial pterygoid muscles and the temporomandibular joints. Earache, headaches, and trouble chewing the most common symptoms of bruxism. Bruxism can be seen as a symptoms of other medical conditions.
Why Be Concerned:
Occlusal trauma – The abnormal wear patterns on the occlusal (chewing) surfaces can lead to fractures in the teeth, which may require extensive restorative treatment.
Arthritis – In severe and chronic cases, bruxing can eventually lead to painful arthritis in the temporomandibular (TMJ) joints (the joints that allow the jaw to open smoothly).
Myofascial pain – Myofascial pain syndrome typically occurs after muscles have been contracted repetitively. The muscles that are responsible for chewing are over worked with bruxism and become the source of pain the can radiate to the ear, jaw, head, and neck.
Treatment options for bruxism
There is no single cure for bruxism, though a variety of helpful devices and tools are available. Here are some common ways in which bruxism is treated:
Mouthguards – An acrylic mouthguard can be designed from tooth impressions to minimize the abrasive action of tooth surfaces during normal sleep. Mouthguards should be worn on a long-term basis to help prevent tooth damage, damage to the temporomandibular joint and help to stabilize the occlusion.
NTI-tss device – This device is fitted by a health professional and only covers the front teeth. The goal of the NTI-tss is to prevent the grinding of the rear molars by limiting the contraction of the temporalis muscle.
Other methods of treatment include relaxation exercises, stress management education and biofeedback mechanisms. When the bruxing is under control, there are a variety of dental procedures such as crowns, gum grafts and crown lengthening that can restore a pleasant aesthetic appearance to the smile.
If you have questions or concerns about bruxism, please fell free to call the office.
Jenkintown Periodontics & Dental Implants, LLC
Dr. Neal B. Suway & Associates
Dental Implants, Cosmetic and Laser Periodontics
261 Old York Road Suite 319
Jenkintown, PA 19046
Phone: (215) 887-6060
Convenient to Philadelphia, Abington, Willow Grove, Elkins Park, Cheltenham, Horsham, Warminster, and Hatboro