Prevention, living with, and treatment of Bruxism


Bruxism is a common condition that is characterized by grinding of teeth and clenching of jaw muscles. It is a prevalent condition that is known to affect millions of people around the world. Its symptoms may include hypersensitivity on teeth, aching of the muscles of a patients jaw that is be caused by the frequent contractions of the jaw muscles, wearing off of the teeth enamel, frequent headaches, facial pain, fractured teeth, and occasional swelling of the jaw line which can result in a lot pain.

Nocturnal bruxism is associated with people who grind their teeth during the night but tend to be fine during the day while daytime bruxism is a condition where people manifest the symptoms of bruxism during the day. Although the definite cause of bruxism is not certain, one of the main factors that is thought to cause this condition is stress. It has also been established that there is a close relationship between people who suffer from bruxism and those who experience sleep disorders like hallucinations, talking while asleep, sleep paralysis, loud snoring and teeth grinding.

Consumption of substances such as tobacco, alcohol, caffeine and some medicines such as antidepressants and anxiety drugs are also associated with bruxism. Such people tend to have problems sleeping. Uneven teeth or teeth that do not properly come together can also result in reactionary grinding of teeth that can eventually develop into a habit. In some cases, certain nerve diseases that are quite rare may be manifested through bruxism as a symptom.

Stress related bruxism can be prevented by engaging professional help through counseling. Stress relieving strategies should also be encouraged which may also include cutting down the use of caffeine, tobacco and any other stimulant that may be affecting one’s lifestyle. Damage of teeth caused by bruxism can be prevented by use of night mouth guards. These are protective devices worn in the mouth to protect the teeth from damage.

Muscle pain caused by bruxism can be relieved by hot compresses paced on the face muscles. Treating bruxism may involve prescription of certain drugs like diazepam also known as valium which is used for a short duration of time – normally not exceeding one week – to help the patient relax especially if the condition is related to stress. A muscle relaxant might also be prescribed for people who experience spasm of the jaw.

Problems of the teeth that might have been as a result of bruxism can be corrected through procedures that align the teeth or by use of crowns and inlays that reshape the damaged surfaces of the patient’s teeth. Use of mouth guards may be prescribed to avert any more damage to the person’s teeth.

Bruxism that may occur as a result of a patient developing side effects to certain antidepressants and anxiety medicines may call for a switch in the choice of drugs prescribed for the patient. Alternatively, a drug that counteracts bruxism may also be prescribed by a doctor instead of switching from one antidepressant drug to another.