If, upon waking up in the morning, you experience a headache and inexplicable discomfort in your jaw,
you may have developed an unconscious habit called bruxism and which manifests itself especially during sleep.
What is bruxism?
Bruxism is a predominantly involuntary and automatic tendency of grinding the teeth while clenching the jaw without serving a clear purpose. It can appear in the waking state, as a habit that appears unnoticed (as in the case of trichotillomania) or during sleep, when it is more difficult to control.
The grinding of teeth that characterizes bruxism
consists of constant rubbing of molars and premolars, straining the jaw and causing them to rub against each other repeatedly perform a forward-backward movement or vice versa, or diagonally In some cases, the teeth in the frontal area are also involved.
As for the types of bruxism, no unified classification system has been developed and in any case it is generally described according to its intensity, the time at which it occurs (while awake, during sleep or in the two states)., Its duration, etc. . In other words, beyond the description of the different symptoms by which this grinding of teeth manifests itself, there is no way to distinguish the variants of bruxism.
Symptoms of bruxism
Bruxism usually presents symptoms both psychological and in the condition of the tissues of the jaw and teeth.. This means that they affect people’s quality of life in many ways and their effects are not limited to times when teeth grinding is present.
The main symptoms of bruxism are:
- Mandibular pain.
- Wear of teeth and weakening of their subjection (long term).
In addition, bruxism can cause side effects such as problems with the jaw joints, ear pain or psychological problems due to lack of sleep and, if necessary, eating problems.
Of course, the diagnosis of bruxism can only be made by a professional competent in the fieldSo, you need to undergo a medical examination to determine whether this habit occurs or not. In addition, since it is an act that appears involuntarily or permanently dormant, it is possible that it is another person who is more aware of the presence of symptoms and who signals the need to go to a specialist.
Psychological and neurological causes of bruxism
The causes of bruxism are largely unknown, due to the fact that it often occurs it seems to be triggered by neurological causes (And therefore difficult to understand in itself) or psychological (in which case the triggers may be in the person’s interaction with elements of his environment).
Therefore, apart from some cases where the onset of bruxism is favored by the formation of the jaw and teeth, teeth grinding has also been associated with ongoing stress episodes, which in turn can be aggravated by the ‘lack of sleep and other symptoms of bruxism.
As for the neurological houses of bruxism,
these are thought to be linked to the normal release and absorption of neurotransmitters in certain parts of the brain, Not necessarily due to structural malformations.
Treatment of bruxism
The most common resource used to protect against the effects of bruxism is the use of molded splints that conform to the teeth and protect them from tooth wear.
However, this solution only partially relieves the symptoms and does not by itself cure bruxism..
Effective treatment for teeth grinding should be done after proper medical examination and in many cases should include measures to reduce stress levels, so psychotherapy specializes in parasomnias and anxiety disorders and a Training in relaxation techniques is recommended. The goal of these treatments carried out from a psychological approach will be to significantly reduce the intensity of bruxism.