According to Medline Plus website, teeth grinding or bruxism happens when a person clenches (tightly holds both upper and lower teeth together) or grinds both upper and lower teeth back and forth. People who are suffering from teeth grinding or bruxism are usually unaware that they are already grinding their teeth during the day or even while they are sleeping. Bruxism during sleep is coined the term sleep bruxism.
Sleep bruxism, also known as nocturnal teeth grinding can affect anyone from all age groups. It has been proven in several studies and researches that 8% of all adults are suffering from sleep bruxism or nocturnal teeth grinding and more than 1/3 of all adult parents have reported that they have observed that their children are suffering from sleep bruxism. Bruxism usually affects children and normally, children can outgrow their bruxism problems as they grow older, however, there are some children who can’t outgrow bruxism and suffer from it until the grow old. There are also some risk factors of bruxism that can increase the risk of a person for developing teeth grinding or bruxism.
Complications of Bruxism
Possible Complications of Teeth Grinding: TMJ Pain
If teeth grinding or bruxism is only mild and occasional, it may not be harmful and cause long-term complications. However, if bruxism is severe and happens regularly, there will be a very high risks for the development of several complications. Here are some of the common complications of teeth grinding or bruxism:
Teeth Damage – damage to the teeth may be permanent. However, if bruxism can be controlled, permanent teeth damage can be prevented.
Difficulties in opening or closing the upper and lower teeth
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders – the temporomandibular joint or TMJ is located in front of the ears. And in bruxism, it can cause pain to the TMJ when a person closes and opens his or her mouth.
Treatments for Bruxism or Teeth Grinding
Usually, mild cases of bruxism do not require treatments. Most adults suffering from bruxism usually do not clench or grind their teeth hard enough that need any treatments or therapies. Only when bruxism is very severe, various treatments and therapies will be recommended. Here are some of the common therapies of bruxism that can help in improving or totally treating bruxism.
Corrective Surgeries for Malocclusion in the upper and lower teeth
Dental guards or mouth guards
Not all people find one specific treatment effective. It will be best to discuss with your doctor which treatment will be the most effective for your condition.