At this time of our life’s do you find work or school stressing you out. You may be taking it out on your teeth. Bruxism is characterized by grinding your teeth and is often accompanied by clenching of the jaws. The literature has classified bruxism as a habitual habit, as well as a sleep disorder. If left untreated the condition can lead to other problems. It is estimated that approximately 10% of the US population suffers from bruxism which can lead to migraines, tension-type headaches, TMJ pain, and cracked or worn teeth. According to Dr. Shyam Subramanian, MD, “The relationship between Obstructive Sleep Apnea and sleep bruxism is usually related to an arousal response. The ending of an epneic event may be accompanied by a number of mouth phenomena, such as snoring, gasps, mumbles, and teeth grinding… High levels of anxiety can lead to bruxism and untreated sleep apnea is known to cause mood disturbances including depression.” It is important to realize the correlation between bruxism and all these dental and physical issues.
The patient often becomes aware of the condition during a routine dental examination. Your dentist will be able to recognize the signs during the examination and may suggest further analysis of your symptoms and associated signs, such as recommending an overnight stay at a sleep laboratory.
There is not always a definitive cure for bruxism, but often with the proper treatment of your bite and the possible sleep connection the signs and symptoms can be reduced or eliminated through dental treatment. Treatments can include mouthguards, dental orthotics, bite adjustments, sleep appliances and repair of damaged teeth.