Bruxism and its effects

Date: 31/05/2018 / Author: Mr Tuấn

Bruxism is a case in which patients involuntary grind or clench their teeth due to chewing muscle contraction. This is a fairly common disease that occurs in both children and adults, affected about 8% of the population. This phenomenon usually occurs when sleeping and sometimes even while awake. Dr. Franxois Unger (France) said that a person who has bruxism can grind his/her teeth continuously for 6-8 minutes at night when sleeping and 5-6 times in an hour.

 Causes and symptoms of grinding disease

 Periodontal disease and treatment

1 / Common symptoms of bruxism

Patients with grinding teeth not only makes a grinding sound when they sleep, they also wake up every morning with an earache, temporomandibular joint and jaw pain with difficulty opening mouth or lower jaw. Depending on the severity of each case the surface of the teeth could be wared out, strong bite or clench can break the enamel, exposing the dentin lead to teeth sensitivity when consuming hot or cold food.

According to statistics, children have the highest rate of bruxism. However, this habit reduced as the child gets older.

- Children: 14-20% (according to Abe 1966)

- Young adult (18-29 years): 13% (according to Parinen 1994)

- Adults: 9%(Lavigne 1994 & Ohayon 2001)

- Elder (over 65 years): 3%(Lavigne 1994 & Ohayon 2001)

Children make up the highest percentage of bruxism

Symptoms of bruxism could be temporary. Most patients themselves did not notice the disease, but only when they visit a dentist or got told by a family member.

2 / Causes of bruxism

There are three main causes:


 Neurological group

- Anxiety, depression

- Sleep disorders

- Brain injury

- Headache

- Temperament, aggressiveness

Form/local group

- Faulty bite joint due to: Development disorder between the teeth and the jaw, leading to no coordination between the upper and lower teeth. Interferences in the lower jaw's movement.

- Primary teeth in children (baby teeth).

- Missing teeth without treatment which leads to teeth deviation.

- Temporomandibular disorders which lead to muscle spasms.

- Mouth breathing.

- Tonsillar hypertrophy

Medicine and stimulants group

- Using stimulants (drug, coffee, cigarettes, etc)

- Side effects of drugs (antidepressants, sleeping pills, etc)

3 / The consequences of bruxism

Bruxism will emit a sound when sleeping, which affects the people sleeping in the same room. Chronic bruxism can badly harm your teeth, such as causing teeth erosion and sensitivity or loosen the teeth. In addition, it can break teeth, fillings, restorations, especially implants as well as causing headache, temporomandibular joint pain, limit mouth movement, jaw fatigue. In severe cases, it can cause bite muscle hypertrophy, which changes facial shape.

4 / Can long-term bruxism affect the nervous system?

If bruxism is caused locally/dental formation/locally, upper and lower jaws disorder then it is not severe to the point that causes mental disorder or uncontrollable behavior. Nevertheless, it affects the temporal system of the jaw: the temporomandibular joint, teeth, muscles and nerves that control the lower jaw.

However, It is the sleep disorder, long-term stress that cause mental problems. Bruxism does not lead to mental illness.

In this case, grinding can be a sign of a previous neurological/psychological disorder. Therefore, when bruxism is detected, it is necessary to note whether it is the cause of neurological/psychological disorders or not in order to care for the right problem, once the mental illness has been treated, bruxism will disappear with it.

5 / Methods of treatment

Depend on the cause of bruxism we have different treatment:

Treatment for form/local causes:

˗ Adjusting the interfered points or the obstructing points of the lower jaw

˗ Restoring or correcting deviated teeth

˗ Anti bruxism night guard is one of the most common solutions in the world, as it helps to relax the muscles, reduces muscle contraction of the bite muscles, protects the teeth from breaking, fixing the lower jaw bone in the right position.

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Wearing a piece of nightguard before bed to minimize tooth wear

The results and methods may vary depending on the individual's condition

 Treatment of neurological causes:

˗ Relax and reduce stress.

˗ Organize life in a logical way: balancing between work and rest, relaxation; balancing between social responsibility and family.

˗ If experienced stressful, depressed situations you should talk with friends, family or see a psychiatrist to get appropriate advice, do not let your stress, depression last.

˗ Improve sleep quality, creating a deep and good sleep, before bedtime, take a warm bath or shower, listen to soothing music, do not have too many activities or stuff yourself with food right before bedtime. Avoid staying up late.

 Treatment of drug-related causes:

- Reduce the consumption of stimulants: alcohol and cigarettes, etc.

- Utilizing muscle relaxants.

6 / Notes on the treatment of bruxism

The manifestations of the disease are not usually noticeable, so patients are less likely to pay it any mind until symptoms such as pain in the temporomandibular joint, cracking sound when open/closing mouth, jaw fatigue; at this time, It is difficult to recover completely.

In the case of bruxism caused by sleep disorders then patients should have an examination early to detect if the problem is related to mental illness or not.

In children, bruxism can be caused by bite joint disorder due to teething or because the nervous system is not fully developed. At the same time, children can experience stress while learning, relations conflict. Therefore, parents need to pay more attention and talk with the children to understand his or her life, thereby relieving their stress.

Before going to sleep for half an hour, let the children play gentle, relaxing games, games that do not require much energy, it is best to tell or read them stories. Children should not eat before going to bed, especially sweets as it can stimulate the nervous system.

Create the habit of sleeping on time, do not stay up late, ensure adequate nutrition, provide sufficient calcium, maintaining good oral hygiene before going to sleep.

Exercising your baby for proper sleep habits is also a way to treat gum disease

7 / How to prevent bruxism

Currently, there is no adequate treatment, however, there are some methods that can reduce or prevent bruxism such as:

 Removal of interferences in the bite joint, avoid stress.

Reorganize life, balancing between work and family, spend some time to rest and relax.

Periodically examination for early detection of deviations, dental diseases to avoid teeth loss. If teeth are missing, teeth recovery treatment is required soon.

Reduce the consumption of stimulants: alcohol, cigarettes, etc.

Nightguard can also prevent bruxism and prevent teeth damage, it can also reduce temporomandibular joint and muscle pain. This is a common treatment because it helps to relax the muscles, reduce the contraction of the chewing muscles, protect the teeth from breaking. In addition, it can adjust the lower jaw bone into proper position.

>>> See also: Solution to grinding teeth grinding

Hopefully, the information above will help you better understand the disease and its effects. If you have any further questions, please contact:

NHAN TAM DENTAL CLINIC

Address: 801-809, 3/2 Street, Ward 7, District 10, HCMC

Hotline:  1900 56 5678

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