TMJ Guide

What is Bruxism?
Understanding The Causes & Symptoms

Bruxism is a medical term used to define an oral condition or a habit of teeth grinding and (or) teeth clenching that occurs during sleep times or in stressful situations. It is a common condition that affects hundreds of people. In several cases, Bruxism exits as a childhood habit that resolves by itself with age. However, in many other cases Bruxism exists as a chronic condition of teeth grinding, causing severe damage to teeth, gums as well as the mental state of mind of a person. The good news is that when attended to in the right manner, Bruxism can be dealt with naturally and many of the associated discomfort reversed.


Causes of Bruxism


Bruxism is a multifactorial condition and it is usually brought on by a combination of several contributory factors. Some of the more commonly established factors are listed below –


  • Stress and anxiety
  • Mal alignment of teeth
  • Spinal or cervical dysfunction
  • Jaw joint problems
  • Ear inflammation etc
  • Abdominal problems
  • Other health complications that can act as a trigger

Symptoms of Bruxism


Apart from the teeth grinding and teeth clenching, symptoms of Bruxism can range from headaches, facial pain, depression to other subsequent complications brought on by the Bruxism actions, such as temporomandibular joint dysfunction.


Chronic cases of Bruxism exhibit more obvious symptoms such as intensely worn down teeth (from the constant grinding motions), painful jaw and insomnia. The symptoms of Bruxism can differ widely depending on the root cause of the condition as well as a person’s individual character. Every person displays the symptoms of Bruxism differently depending on the above factors.


Understanding Bruxism


The multifactorial nature of Bruxism makes a prompt diagnosis difficult in most cases. Even in cases of tooth decay resulting from fractures of teeth, the causes do not point to Bruxism at first glance. The symptoms are therefore difficult to lead to Bruxism, especially in cases where the persons themselves are not aware of the existence of the problem (as is typical in sleep time Bruxism).


Additionally, there is no straight forward treatment that cures Bruxism. What one gets in terms of Bruxism treatments are mostly ways to manage the condition and damage control devices. Drugs touted as cures for Bruxism are at best only incidental in providing relief. Many times they cause severe side effects.


For a durable and positive Bruxism solution, one needs to approach the goal as a holistic treatment after indentifying the real causes of the condition.

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