Bruxism is an oral parafunctional activity whose characteristic features are clenching of the jaws and grinding of the teeth. These may take place either at night or during the day.
When there is a malfunctioning chewing reflex it results to grinding and clenching of the teeth–this usually occurs at night. This is why bruxism is regarded as one of the most common sleep disorders. This malfunctioning chewing reflex does not take place in non-sufferers of bruxism. For those who suffer from bruxism, naps or deep sleep may result to the turning off of the reflex nerve control centre in the brain. This activates the reflex pathway.
The front six upper and lower teeth–known as the incisors and canines–grind against each other in a side by side action. The medial pterygoid muscles receive the strain, and the temporalmandibular joints are affected.
Most of the common symptoms of this condition are depression, earache, eating disorders, headache, and anxiety.

Reasons for the Treatment of Bruxism

    The following are the reasons you should promptly treat bruxism:
  • Occlusal trauma: This is the abnormal wear of the chewing surfaces of the teeth which may lead to teeth fractures, and this may require restorative treatment.
  • Gum recession and tooth loss: One primary cause of tooth loss and gum recession is bruxism. It leads to lose of a tooth and deep pockets resulting to colonization and destruction of the supporting bone by bacteria. The soft tissues are also directly damaged.
  • Myofascial pain: The teeth can become blunt and shortened as a result of grinding due to bruxism. This may lead to debilitating headaches and muscle pain in the myofascial region.
  • Arthritis: The severe cases of bruxism may lead to painful arthritis in the joint preventing smooth opening of the jaw (temporomandibular joint).

Treatment Options for Bruxism

    Although bruxism does not have a single cure, there are varieties of tools and devices which can be helpful in the treatment of this disorder:
  • Botox: Botox injection is injected into the muscles of the teeth to weaken and relax them. This injection is very effective as it provides a weakening effect on the muscles preventing the grinding symptom. Botox does not affect the day to day speaking and chewing.
  • Mouth guards: To reduce the abrasive action of tooth surfaces during sleep an acrylic mouth guard can be developed from tooth impressions. This also prevents tooth damages if worn for a long time. It also reduces the damage to the temporomandibular joint and assists in the stabilization of the occlusion.
  • NTI-TSS device: This device is made to cover the front teeth and it is done by a health professional. One primary goal achieved by the NTI-TSS is the prevention of grinding of the rare molars because it reduces the contraction of the temporalis muscle.
    Other methods can be used in the treatment of bruxism which includes stress management education, relaxation exercises, and biofeedback mechanism. Procedures like gum grafts, crowns, and crown lengthening can be used in restoring the aesthetic appearance of your smile when the bruxing is under control.