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Bruxism

Learn more about Bruxism, Teeth Clenching and Grinding
Dentists Drs. Joseph Behrman & Jeni Behrman at Macedon Family Dentistry

The most common characteristics of bruxism are the grinding of the teeth and/or the clenching of the jaw, which can occur either 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.

Bruxism happens when your chewing reflex is not working properly and clenching and grinding occurs. For bruxism sufferers, deep sleep or even naps cause the reflex nerve control center in the brain to turn off and forces your chewing reflex to become active. When you grind your teeth, the side-to-side action puts undue strain on the jaw muscles and the temporomandibular joints.

Symptoms of bruxism include earache, headaches, jaw pain, damaged teeth and neck pain. At Macedon Family Dentistry, we believe the following are good reasons why bruxism should be promptly treated, including:

  • Gum recession and tooth loss: Bruxism is one of the leading causes of gum recession and tooth loss. First, because it damages the soft tissue directly and, second, because it leads to loose teeth and deep pockets where bacteria can form and destroy the supporting bone.
  • Occlusal trauma: The abnormal wear patterns on the occlusal (chewing) surfaces can lead to fractures in the teeth, which may require restorative treatment.
  • Arthritis: In severe and chronic cases, bruxing can eventually lead to painful arthritis in the temporomandibular (TMJ) joints (the joints that allow the jaw to open smoothly).
  • Myofascial pain: The grinding associated with bruxism can eventually shorten and blunt the teeth. This can lead to muscle pain and debilitating headaches.

Treatment options for bruxism

There are a variety of helpful devices and tools to treat bruxism. Here are some common ways in which bruxism is treated:

  • Mouthguards: An acrylic mouthguard can minimize the abrasive action of tooth surfaces during normal sleep. Mouthguards should be worn on a long-term basis to help prevent tooth damage, damage to the temporomandibular joint and help to stabilize the occlusion.
  • NTI-tss device: This device covers the front teeth. The goal of the NTI-tss is to prevent the grinding of the rear molars by limiting the contraction of the temporalis muscle.

Other methods of treatment include relaxation exercises, stress management education and biofeedback mechanisms.

If you have questions or concerns about bruxism or if you are seeking treatment in the Fairport, Macedon and Palmyra area, call us today for an appointment. Our dentists, Dr. Joseph Behrman or Dr. Jeni Behrman, can help determine a treatment plan right for you.