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Dental Bruxism: discover the causes, symptoms and treatment to put a solution

Dental bruxism is the term by which it is commonly known when grinding and grinding teeth. This can occur both during the day and at night unconsciously when sleeping.

People who suffer from it strongly clench their teeth and move them from back to front and vice versa, causing wear of the parts. It is more common and obviously more difficult to control sleep related.

Although it is true that its main trigger is located on the psychological plane, its repercussions extend on the plane of dentistry. Dental bruxism can cause teeth to become sore or loose. In addition to wearing down the bone that supports the tooth and causing joint problems.

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What can cause it?

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Specialists point to stress as one of the main triggers of dental bruxism. Although there are also other factors that can contribute to its appearance such as:

Improper tooth alignment.

The type of feeding that the patient follows.

Sleep habits.

The inability to relax.

The posture adopted.

How hard your teeth clench or grind.

Symptoms of dental bruxism

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Some people with dental bruxism do not experience discomfort and do not discover that they have it until someone tells them that they grind their teeth while they sleep.

It can also be discovered at a routine dental checkup due to worn teeth or fractured enamel. In order to diagnose dental bruxism, the specialist must carry out a clinical interview, an examination and a radiographic study.

Although some people may have no symptoms, dental bruxism can eventually cause:


Anxiety, stress and tension.


Sleep disturbances such as insomnia.

Muscle sensitivity, especially in the morning.

Facial, head and neck pain.

Tooth sensitivity to cold, heat and sweets.

Jaw pain or swelling.

Eating disorders.


Although not a serious problem, dental bruxism can eventually cause permanent dental injuries and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems. The structures of this joint are very close to the external auditory canal, so the referred pain in the ears is also quite frequent among patients. Also, the squeaky sound can be so noisy at night as to disturb the sleep of the roommates.

How to put solution?

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The proper treatment for dental bruxism will depend on knowing what is causing this problem. The dentist must determine the potential cause with precise questions and a dental exam. Then, according to the cause and the damage caused, you can suggest different options.

Treatments applied to treat dental bruxism are aimed at reducing pain, preventing the wear of dental pieces and permanent damage to the jaw. Such therapies can reduce the habit of clenching and grinding the teeth, although many times they are not a definitive solution.

Traditionally, dental splints or protectors have been used to prevent dental bruxism during sleep. Splints can make pain go away while wearing and help prevent damage this disorder can cause. However, they do not solve the problem, as the discomforts reappear if they are no longer used.

There are different types of splints, some fit on the lower teeth and others on the upper teeth. These protectors are designed to keep the jaw in a more relaxed position. And if one type doesn't work, the other may.

To relieve pain caused by bruxism, these self-care tips may also be helpful:

Apply ice or hot cloths to the areas where the pain occurs, such as the jaw muscles.

Avoid eating hard foods like nuts, candies, or steaks.

Drink plenty of water every day.

Avoid chewing gum.

Massage the areas where pain occurs.

Sleep the recommended hours.

Learning physiotherapeutic stretching exercises to regain muscle and joint action can help return to normal. In addition to exercises to make facial relaxation a habit.

Reducing daily stress and managing anxiety can decrease dental bruxism. So for people prone to this condition, relaxation techniques can be very helpful. Any habit that helps you relax, such as listening to music, reading, walking, or taking a bath, can help improve bruxism.

Another option could be an orthodontic over the bite pattern to adjust and align the teeth properly. And as a last resort, surgery could be considered.

Dr. Armellini received her dental degree from the Central University of Venezuela. She received an MBA from the University of Michigan and embarked on a clinical fellowship in Implantology Prosthodontics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.


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