Understanding Bruxism: What People Should Know

Bruxism is categorized as an involuntary jaw contraction that causes friction or tightness of the teeth, apart from a situation where teeth are normally in contact such as swallowing or chewing.

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  1. Dental grinding, also called bruxism, is a diurnal and nocturnal disorder which affects about five percent of the population. It manifests itself through involuntary and excessive tightening of the teeth during sleep. It wakes significant others up while the sufferer never realizes a thing.

    What are its causes and facilitating factors? What are its most common symptoms and treatments? Why is it important to visit an Austin Dentist if you suffer from this?

    Definition

    Bruxism is categorized as an involuntary jaw contraction that causes friction or tightness of the teeth, apart from a situation where teeth are normally in contact such as swallowing or chewing. It is usually temporary, but, if prolonged, requires therapeutic management to avoid certain complications. Bruxism is an involuntary movement of friction or tightness between the lower jaw and the upper jaw.

    If bruxism occurs during childhood, the chances are great that it will occur in adulthood too. It can cause degradation of teeth enamel, vertebral pain, or blockages in the jaw. See an Austin Dentist immediately if your child experiences this.

    Causes

    Teeth grinding is mostly related to psychological stress or anxiety, but the misalignment of the jaws is another possible cause. Sleeping on your back or awakening during the light sleep phase also contribute to bruxism.

  2. Risk factors

    Bruxism knows no boundaries when it comes to race or sex. It affects six to eight percent of the adult population, 14% of children, and 10-12% of adolescents. The most affected age group is 20 to 50 years of age, with its prevalence decreasing with age. Only a reliable Austin Dentist can confirm if you or a family member has bruxism.

    Symptoms

    Teeth grinding is often associated with delayed symptoms such as headaches, jaw pain, muscle fatigue in the cheeks, or tooth sensitivity (cold, warm, or pressure).

    Complications

    If bruxism becomes chronic and is not treated, it can lead to premature wear of the teeth due to the progressive disappearance of the enamel and greater sensitivity of the teeth to the cold. It can also improve the risk of fracturing teeth as well as problems of articulation and greater mobility of the teeth, which favors their dislodging.

    Treatment

    Nocturnal bruxism is not always identified by the patient, which can delay his or her diagnosis and management. Treatment is mainly based on the installation of de-occlusion gutters, which are designed to protect the mouth against dental wear. Dentists may also prescribe muscle relaxants and anxiolytics. Contact Dr. David Frank for more information.
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