Bruxism is clenching or grinding the teeth causing tooth wear. It is done unconsciously night or day. It occurs when the upper teeth are strongly squeezed with the lower teeth and also move from back to front and vice versa. Bruxism is an involuntary habit that can be very harmful to our teeth and our masticatory system in general, affecting muscles and joints.
There are several types of bruxism: mild, moderate and severe, as well as diurnal and nocturnal.
Classification of bruxism according to moment, intensity and movement:
- Daytime Bruxism: Also called effort. Generally adopts the action or form of pressure. It affects the masseter and temporal muscles.
- Night Bruxism: It occurs during sleep. This generally takes the form of grinding, involving the masseter, temporal, lateral and medial pterygoid muscles. We also find cases in which bruxism occurs both diurnal and nocturnal at the same time.
This act can appear and disappear at any time of life. We can classify, according to their aggressiveness and establishment in the patient, three degrees of intensity or habit of bruxism. These are:
- MILD: Incipient habit The presentation is not aggressive. Its reproduction is for a short period of time and sometimes, occasionally. Although it may be unconscious for the person, it is reversible since it appears and vanishes on its own. It may not be related to anxiety.
- MODERATE: Habit established. In this degree the anxiety is already present. The presentation is unconscious for the person and disappears when it becomes conscious. At this stage we can find lesions in the dentofacial structures, which is why a comprehensive clinical treatment is required to ensure its elimination. The Grade II habit can be reversible, if it is not treated it can develop into a Grade III habit.
One of the main problems of bruxism is that the teeth can exert excessive pressure on the muscles, tissues and structures that surround the jaw. In fact, if it is prolonged in time it can cause problems in the temporomandibular joint.
Bruxism can cause:
· Mandibular, ear pain and pain and pressure below the eyes
· Problems in the temporomandibular joint
· Dental sensitivity to cold, heat and sweet foods
“Bruxism is an involuntary and unconscious process, we do not realize“
The causes of bruxism are not sufficiently known, although it is considered that the most important triggering factor is stress, although there are others that may contribute to its appearance:
· Inadequate alignment of the teeth.
· Occlusion interference due to a wisdom tooth eruption, a fresh filling and incorrect orthodontics
· The posture.
· Sleep habits, etc.
The appropriate treatment for bruxism will depend on knowing what is causing the problem. With precise questions and a dental examination, your dentist will determine the potential cause of bruxism and according to the dental damage and the cause, it can suggest different options:
– Use a hard or soft dental discharge splint while you sleep, which is elaborated with exact fit in your mouth. Although the splint is an excellent way to treat bruxism, it does not solve the problem.
– Prosthetic rehabilitation.