What is Bruxism (Bruxism)? Bruxism Symptoms and Treatment

Bruxism is a condition known as teeth clenching or teeth grinding, caused by emotional states such as stress or anxiety. It is characterized by the contraction of the jaw muscles and usually occurs while the person is sleeping. Bruxism is characterized by clenching or grinding one’s teeth and, over time, can damage the jaw joint, teeth and surrounding tissues.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a condition also called tooth clenching. It is a behavior in which a person unconsciously clenches or grinds their teeth. This usually occurs during sleep, so the person is usually not aware of their bruxism problem. Bruxism is a fairly common condition among people and is often associated with factors such as stress, anxiety or sleep disorders.

Bruxism Symptoms

Bruxism can manifest itself with many different symptoms. Here are some of the common symptoms of bruxism:

  1. Tooth Wear: Bruxism causes the teeth to constantly come into contact with each other, which leads to tooth wear. It can be seen that the teeth wear smoothly and become sharp.
  2. Jaw Pain: Bruxism can cause pain and a feeling of tension in the jaw muscles. You may feel pain in your jaw or face when you wake up in the morning.
  3. Headache: Bruxism can also cause headaches. You may feel pain, especially in the temples or the back of the head.
  4. Sleep Disorders: Bruxism often occurs during sleep, so it can cause sleep disturbances. If your sleep feels interrupted or you wake up tired in the morning, it may be related to bruxism.
  5. Jaw Joint Problems: Bruxism can lead to jaw joint problems. Symptoms such as jaw joint pain, restriction in jaw movements or jaw joint sounds (crunching, clicking) can be seen.

Causes of Bruxism

The exact cause of bruxism is not clearly known, but it is thought that the following factors may play a role in the development of bruxism:

  1. Stress and Anxiety: Stress and anxiety can increase the risk of bruxism. Stressful situations or chronic anxiety in daily life can increase a person’s tendency to clench or grind their teeth.
  2. Sleep Disorders: Bruxism usually occurs during sleep. Sleep disorders can increase the risk of bruxism. In particular, there may be a relationship between sleep problems such as snoring and sleep apnea and bruxism.
  3. Teeth and Jaw Structure: Structural features of the teeth and jaw can affect the risk of bruxism. Missing teeth, misalignment of the jaw or mismatch of tooth junctions can increase the risk of bruxism.
  4. Genetic Factors: Bruxism is a condition that can run in families. Genetic factors are thought to play a role in the development of bruxism.

Bruxism Diagnosis

Bruxism is usually diagnosed by a dentist or sleep disorders specialist. The following methods can be used to diagnose bruxism:

  1. Physical Examination: The dentist or specialist can examine your jaw muscles, jaw joint and teeth. If there is wear on your teeth or jaw joint problems, bruxism can be diagnosed.
  2. X-rays: X-ray images can be used to examine your jaw structure in more detail. X-rays can help detect jaw joint problems or wear on the teeth.
  3. Polysomnography: A polysomnography test can be done to record clenching or grinding activities during sleep. This test can be used to confirm bruxism activity and rule out other sleep disorders.

Bruxism Treatment

Treatment of bruxism can vary depending on the severity of the symptoms and the causes of bruxism. Here are some methods used in the treatment of bruxism:

  1. Night aligners: Your dentist may recommend night aligners (night guards). These aligners prevent you from clenching or grinding your teeth and provide protection for your teeth and jaw joint.
  2. Stress Management: Bruxism can be associated with stress, so stress management techniques can be used. Stress reduction methods such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises can relieve bruxism symptoms.
  3. Physical Therapy: If you have tension or pain in your jaw muscles, physical therapy sessions can be beneficial. The physical therapist may use massage, stretching exercises and hot or cold applications to relax your jaw muscles.
  4. Tooth Restoration: If there is excessive tooth wear, treatment for tooth restoration may be planned. Implants or dentures can be used to replace missing teeth.

Home Remedies for Bruxism

You can apply the following measures at home to relieve or control the symptoms of bruxism:

  1. Hot and Cold Application: If you feel tension in your jaw muscles, you can try hot or cold applications. You can relax the muscles by using a hot water bag or ice pack.
  2. Stress Reduction Methods: Bruxism may be related to stress, so it may be useful to try stress reduction methods. Yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises or relaxation techniques can help you relax.
  3. Exercises to Relax the Jaw Muscles: You can do simple exercises to relax your jaw muscles. Exercises such as stretching your jaw muscles, opening and closing your mouth slowly can relieve the symptoms of bruxism.
  4. Awareness of Teeth Clenching and Grinding: Since bruxism usually occurs during sleep, it can be difficult to recognize this condition. However, if you notice a tendency to clench or grind your teeth during daylight hours, carefully try to relax your jaw.

Frequently Asked Questions about Bruksizm

How is bruxism treated?

Treatment of bruxism varies depending on the severity of the symptoms and the causes. Methods such as night trays, stress management techniques, physical therapy and dental restoration can be used.

How does bruxism affect the teeth?

Bruxism can cause tooth wear and jaw joint problems. Teeth can be seen to wear down evenly, become sharp and more prone to decay.

Is bruxism permanent?

Bruxism can be a temporary problem in some people, while in others it can be a permanent condition. Treatment options and symptom management play an important role in dealing with bruxism.

Is bruxism caused by stress?

Yes, bruxism can be associated with stress and anxiety. Stressful situations or anxiety can increase a person’s tendency to clench or grind their teeth.

Does bruxism also occur in children?

Yes, bruxism can also occur in children. Bruxism in children is usually associated with growth and teething and usually resolves on its own.

What can I do to prevent bruxism?

To prevent bruxism, you can practice stress management techniques, be aware of clenching or grinding, and use night aligners recommended by your dentist.

Dr. Dt. Busra Korkmaz
Dr. Dt. Busra Korkmaz