Bruxism (teeth grinding): causes, symptoms and treatment
If when you wake up in the morning you feel a headache and unexplained discomfort in the jaw, you may have developed an unconscious habit called bruxism and that manifests especially while sleeping.
What is bruxism?
Bruxism is a basically involuntary and automatic tendency that consists of grinding the teeth by tensing the jaw without it serving a clear purpose. It can appear in the waking state, as a habit that appears without being repaired (as in the case of trichotillomania) or during sleep, at which time it is more difficult to control.
The grinding of teeth that characterizes bruxism consists of the constant scrub of the molars and premolars, tensing the jaw and causing them to rub against each other Repeatedly making a movement from front to back or vice versa, or diagonally. In some cases the teeth located in the frontal area are also involved.
Regarding the types of bruxism, no unified classification system has been developed and, in any case, it is customary to describe according to its intensity, the moment in which it manifests (during waking, during sleep or in both states), its duration, etc. That is to say, that beyond the description of the different symptoms through which this grinding of teeth manifests, there is no way to distinguish between variants of bruxism.
Symptoms of bruxism
Bruxism usually presents symptoms both at the psychological level and in the state of the tissues of the jaw and teeth . This means that they affect the quality of life of people in many aspects and that their effects are not limited simply to the moments in which the grinding of teeth is present.
The main symptoms of bruxism are the following:
- Mandibular pain
- Teeth wear and weakening of your grip (long term).
In addition, bruxism can generate side effects such as the appearance of problems in the joints of the jaw, pain in the ears or psychological problems resulting from lack of sleep and, if necessary, problems with eating.
Of course, The diagnosis of bruxism can only be made by a competent professional in the field , so it is necessary to go through a medical review to determine whether or not this habit occurs. In addition, as it is an act that appears involuntarily or during sleep, it is possible that another person is more aware of the presence of symptoms and the one that indicates the need to go to a specialist.
Psychological and neurological causes of bruxism
The causes of bruxism are largely unknown, because many times its appearance seems to be triggered by neurological causes (and therefore difficult to understand in itself) or psychological (in which case the triggers may be in the interaction of the person with elements of their environment).
That is why beyond some cases in which the appearance of bruxism is favored by the formation of the jaw and teeth, teeth grinding has also been associated with continued episodes of stress, which in turn can be aggravated for the lack of sleep and for the rest of symptoms of bruxism.
As for the neurological houses of bruxism, these would be linked to a normal release and uptake of neurotransmitters in some parts of the brain , not necessarily due to structural malformations ..
The most used resource to protect from the effects of bruxism is the use of mold splints that adapt to the teeth and protect them from dental wear. However, this solution only serves to partially alleviate the symptoms, and by itself does not serve to cure bruxism .
An effective treatment of tooth grinding should be done after due medical review, and in many cases should include measures to reduce stress levels, so that specialized psychotherapy in parasomnias and anxiety disorders and training in relaxation techniques are recommended. . The objective of these treatments carried out from the psychological approach will be to make the intensity in which bruxism occurs significantly decrease.