Bruxism (Tooth Grinding and Clenching) Santa Clarita


Bruxism is an oral parafunctional activity characterized by the grinding of teeth and clenching of the jaw, which can occur during the day or night. It is one of the most prevalent known sleep disorders and causes most of its damage during sleeping hours.

The clenching and grinding associated with bruxism are symptomatic of a malfunctioning chewing reflex, which is typically deactivated in non-sufferers during sleep. However, for individuals with bruxism, the reflex nerve control center in the brain is turned off during deep sleep or naps, allowing the reflex pathways to become active.

Typically, the incisors and canines (front six upper and lower teeth) of opposing dental arches grind against each other in a lateral motion. This side-to-side action places undue strain on the medial pterygoid muscles and the temporomandibular joints. Common symptoms of bruxism include earache, depression, headaches, eating disorders, and anxiety, and it is often accompanied by chronic stress, Alzheimer’s disease, and alcohol abuse.

Bruxism is frequently misdiagnosed or undiagnosed, as it is only one of several potential causes of tooth wear. Only a trained professional can differentiate between wear caused by bruxism and wear caused by overly aggressive brushing, acidic soft drinks, and abrasive foods.

Make an appointment

    Reasons for the treatment of bruxism

    Here are some of the main reasons why bruxism should be promptly treated:

    • Gum recession and tooth loss – Bruxism is one of the leading causes of gum recession and tooth loss; firstly because it damages the soft tissue directly, and secondly because it leads to loose teeth and deep pockets where bacteria can colonize and destroy the supporting bone.
    • Occlusal trauma – The abnormal wear patterns on the occlusal (chewing) surfaces can lead to fractures in the teeth, which may require restorative treatment.
    • Arthritis – In severe and chronic cases, bruxing can eventually lead to painful arthritis in the temporomandibular (TMJ) joints (the joints that allow the jaw to open smoothly).
    • Myofascial pain – The grinding associated with bruxism can eventually shorten and blunt the teeth.  This can lead to muscle pain in the myofascial region and debilitating headaches.

    Treatment options for bruxism

    There is no single cure for bruxism, though a variety of helpful devices and tools are available.  Here are some common ways in which bruxism is treated:

    • Mouthguards – An acrylic mouthguard can be designed from tooth impressions to minimize the abrasive action of tooth surfaces during normal sleep.  Mouthguards should be worn on a long-term basis to help prevent tooth damage, damage to the temporomandibular joint and help to stabilize the occlusion.
    • NTI-TSS device – This device is fitted by a health professional and only covers the front teeth.  The goal of the NTI-TSS is to prevent the grinding of the rear molars by limiting the contraction of the temporalis muscle.
    • Botox® – Botox® can be injected into the muscles to relax and weaken them.  Botox® is an excellent treatment for bruxism because it weakens the muscles enough to prevent the grinding, but not enough to interfere with everyday functions like chewing and speaking.

    Other methods of treatment include relaxation exercises, stress management education, and biofeedback mechanisms.  When the bruxing is under control, there are a variety of dental procedures such as crowns, gum grafts and crown lengthening that can restore a pleasant aesthetic appearance to the smile.

    If you have questions or concerns about bruxism, please ask your dentist.

    © 2024 – Smile Care Valencia | All Rights Reserved.

    Call Now