Dental advices and info

BRUXISM AND JAW PAIN

Bruxism is the term that refers to an incessant grinding and clenching of the teeth, unintentionally, and at inappropriate times. Bruxers (persons with bruxism) are often unaware that they have developed this habit, and often do not know that treatment is available until damage to the mouth and teeth have been done.

Damage caused by bruxism often includes the following symptoms:

  • abraded teeth
  • facial pain
  • oversensitive teeth
  • tense facial and jaw muscles
  • headaches
  • dislocation of the jaw
  • damage to the tooth enamel, exposing the inside of the tooth (dentin)
  • a popping or clicking in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • damage to the inside of the cheek

What causes bruxism?

Although this habit is unintentional, oral health specialists often point to excessive stress and certain personality types as typical causes of bruxism. Bruxism often affects persons with nervous tension such as anger, pain, or frustration, and/or persons with aggressive, hurried, or overly competitive tendencies.

How is bruxism diagnosed?

During regular visits to the dentist, the teeth are examined for evidence of bruxism often indicated by the tips of the teeth appearing flat. If symptoms are present, the condition will be observed for changes over the next several visits before a treatment program is established.

Treatment for bruxism:

Specific treatment for bruxism will be determined by your dentist or physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the disease
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference

In most cases, bruxism can be successfully treated.

Treatment may involve:

  • Behaviour modification
    Teaching the patient how to rest his/her tongue, teeth, and lips properly, and learning how to rest the tongue upward may relieve discomfort on the jaw while keeping the teeth apart and lips closed.
  • Mouthpiece
    A specially-fitted plastic mouth appliance may be worn at night to absorb the force of biting. This appliance may help to prevent future damage to the teeth and aid in changing the patient's behaviour.

Bruxism is common in kids.

Bruxism is the medical term for the grinding of teeth or the clenching of jaws, especially during deep sleep or while under stress. Three out of every ten kids will grind.

Though studies have been done, no one knows why bruxism happens. But in some cases, kids may grind because the top and bottom teeth aren't aligned properly. Others do it as a response to pain, such as an earache or teething. Kids might grind their teeth as a way to ease the pain, just as they might rub a sore muscle. Most kids outgrow these fairly common causes for grinding.

Stress — usually nervous tension or anger — is another cause. For instance, your child may be worrying about a test at school or experiencing a change in routine. Even arguing with parents and siblings can cause enough stress to prompt teeth grinding or jaw clenching.  Some kids who are hyperactive also experience bruxism.

Effects of Bruxism

Generally, bruxism doesn't hurt a child's teeth. Many cases go undetected with no adverse effects, though some may result in mild morning headaches or earaches. Most often, however, the condition can be more bothersome to you and others in your home because of the grinding sound.

In some extreme circumstances, night time grinding and clenching can wear down tooth enamel, chip teeth, increase temperature sensitivity, and cause severe facial pain and jaw problems, such as temporomandibular joint disease (TMJ). Most kids, who grind, however, do not have TMJ problems unless their grinding and clenching is chronic.

Diagnosing Bruxism

Lots of kids who grind their teeth aren't even aware of it, so it's often siblings or parents who identify the problem.

Some signs to watch for:

  • grinding noises when your child is sleeping
  • complaints of a sore jaw or face in the morning
  • thumb sucking
  • fingernail biting
  • chewing the inside of the cheek

Treating Bruxism

In cases where the grinding and clenching make a child's face and jaw sore or damage the teeth, dentists may prescribe a special night guard. Molded to a child's teeth, the night guard is similar to the protective mouthpieces worn by football players. Though a mouthpiece may take some getting used to, positive results happen quickly.

Helping Kids with Bruxism

Whether the cause is physical or psychological, kids might be able to control bruxism by relaxing before bedtime — for example, by taking a warm bath or shower, listening to a few minutes of soothing music, or reading a book.

For bruxism that's caused by stress, try to find out what's upsetting your child and find a way to help.

How Long Does Bruxism Last?

Childhood bruxism is usually outgrown by adolescence. Most kids stop grinding when they lose their baby teeth because permanent teeth are much more sensitive to pain. However, a few children do continue to grind into adolescence. And if the bruxism is caused by stress, it will continue until the stress is relieved.

Preventing Bruxism

Because some bruxism is a child's natural reaction to growth and development, most cases can't be prevented. Stress-induced bruxism can be avoided, however, by talking with kids regularly about their feelings and helping them deal with stress.

P.E. Lemesos Dental Clinic Ltd.

P.E. Lemesos Dental Clinic Ltd. was founded by Dr. Pambos Epaminondas at Limassol, Cyprus. Using the highest hygiene and sterilization requirement we cover a wide spectrum ... About P.E. Lemesos Dental Clinic Ltd.

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