How is bruxism treated?
Almost everyone will experience an episode of bruxism, otherwise known as teeth grinding, in their lifetime. While these may be short, isolated episodes for some people, bruxism can significantly affect the health of those who suffer from it more regularly or intensely.
When it is chronic, bruxism can fracture, deteriorate and even lead to the loss of a tooth. The more severe the teeth grinding, the more harmful the repercussions, even extending beyond the mouth. If left untreated, teeth grinding can be responsible for partial hearing loss, deterioration of the temporomandibular joint and even a change in facial appearance.
When teeth grinding is mild, we try to reduce the sources of tension responsible and this is usually sufficient. If the bruxism is severe, several measures are considered to avoid irreparable damage. Here are some guidelines for reducing teeth grinding:
– Decrease sources of stress;
– Avoid foods containing caffeine such as coffee, chocolate or soft drinks;
– Do not chew on objects unnecessarily, such as the end of a pencil;
– Try to relax your jaw if you become aware of teeth grinding;
– Do some facial relaxation exercises before going to sleep.
If, with these methods, the bruxism remains or does not seem to subside, it is possible to use an occlusal plate that will be worn during the night, the time when most people grind their teeth. This bite plate is made by a dentist. Also, medications such as anxiolytics can be used when the problem is due to an anxiety disorder and relaxation methods are ineffective.
Some individuals are not even aware that they suffer from bruxism because, as mentioned earlier, episodes of teeth grinding often occur during sleep. Indications such as jaw pain upon awakening, comments from your spouse, or premature tooth wear noticed by your dental professional will indicate that steps should be taken to minimize the potential impact on your health.
Important fact: 15 to 33% of children grind their teeth, especially during the eruption period. While most of the time the problem resolves itself, many parents notice and worry about teeth grinding during sleep. Some relaxation measures before bedtime can help, in addition to good hydration, which can often reduce bruxism. Your dentist will also be a good ally in assessing the wear and tear on your child’s teeth.