Bruxism refers to an oral parafunctional activity that occurs in most humans at some point in their lives. Grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw are the two main characteristics of this condition, which can occur during the day or at night.
Bruxism is one of the most common known sleep disorders and causes most of its damage during sleeping hours. The clenching and grinding which accompanies bruxism is symptomatic of a malfunctioning chewing reflex, which is turned off in non-sufferers when sleeping. For sufferers, deep sleep or even naps cause the reflex nerve control center in the brain to turn off and the reflex pathways to become active.
Reasons for the treatment of bruxism:
Treatment for bruxism
Gum recession and tooth loss – Bruxism is a cause of gum recession and tooth loss.
Occlusal trauma – The abnormal wear patterns on the occlusal (chewing) surfaces can lead to fractures in the teeth, which may require restorative treatment.
Myofascial pain – The grinding associated with bruxism can eventually shorten and blunt the teeth. This can lead to headaches and muscle pain in the myofascial region.
There is no single cure for bruxism, though a mouth guard may help. An acrylic night guard (mouth guard) can be designed from arch impressions to minimize the abrasive action of tooth surfaces during normal sleep. A mouth guard should be worn on a long-term basis to help to stabilize the occlusion as well as prevent damage to teeth and gums.