What causes Bruxism

What are the typical causes of Bruxism? Bruxism can be caused by TMJ disorders, stress, weight, medication, or other sleep related disorders. To understand what the symptoms of Bruxism are, why you are experiencing it, and how to treat it, you have to have an understanding of what Bruxism is.


Bruxism is a semi conscious chewing or grinding of teeth. This can happen while you awake or asleep. It often occurs unconsciously, as a reaction to your nervous system. It is grouped with unconscious activities like togue tension, jaw clenching, pen chewing, and fingernail biting. It could be related to stress or underlying disorders. If you have any sleep disorders, like apnea, it is common to develop Bruxism. The reverse is also true.


What causes Bruxism?

Sleep bruxism is activated throughout the night as you awake, but unconsciously. These are called Micro-arousals, and they trigger your Automatic Nervous system. These activations of your ANS raise your heart rate, increase your breathing, and eventually activate the muscles of mastication–your chewing muscles. Upon activation you chew and clench your teeth for a couple of seconds multiple times throughout the night. Over time this can erode the edges of your teeth. Bruxism has causal links with disruptions of sleep, stress, conditions like sleep apnea, and some medications.


How to tell if you have Bruxism

Bruxism can be diagnosed by your Dentist or Dental care team. Your Dentist may suspect that you have bruxism based on the damage to your teeth or jaw. In order to diagnose with certainty though, you will probably need to undergo an overnight study, like Polysomnography. Polysomnography is not always necessary, but if you live alone it may be. Bruxism can be safely suggested as a diagnosis with tooth damage, reports from a partner, sleep observation, and jaw pain. Consult with your dental care team first and ask about available options. Polysomnography can be expensive as well, so talk with your insurance representative.

How to treat Bruxism

Bruxism can be treated by:

* Treating the symptoms. Clean your teeth and mouth regularly, to reduce inflammation and bacteria. Take pain medication to reduce suffering throughout the day. Drink water and stay hydrated. Wear a sleep tracker to see how often you awake in the night. If you have apnea, use your prosthetics to get a good night’s sleep.

* Medication. Some medications have been shown to help bruxism. This medications may affect your brain chemistry. Consult with your dentist and medical doctor to deduce whether anything is contraindicated. Ask them about your current prescriptions and see if bruxism is a side effect of any that you take regularly.

* Mouthguards. Some mouthguards are suitable for controlling bruxism. Mouthguards can be fitted to your mouth in design, or by using very hot water to engage malleability. Consult with your dental team about what kinds are suitable. The last thing you want to do is trade very mild bruxism for more severe TMJ and jaw/ear pain.

* Botox. Some evidence suggests that botox, which makes the face slightly more rigid, can help to reduce bruxism.


What should I do now?

In the meantime, get some rest. Sleeping well will reduce stress, which has drastic effects on your whole body, and bruxism. Eat healthy, exercise, and see your Dentist soon.

Botox for Bruxism