Bruxism: a pathology directly related to stress

Bruxism is a disorder that consists of grinding or clenching the teeth, usually while the sufferer is asleep, and is usually an unconscious movement.

Bruxism triggers problems in the teeth, such as wear, sensitivity to cold or heat, mobility, loss of teeth, articulation in the condyle, muscular problems (contractures, neck pain, limited opening of the jaw…).

Because bruxism is nocturnal, the patient may not realize in time the wear, signs and symptoms of this pathology, so we recommend a check-up at least once a year with your dentist.

Risk factors for bruxism

The most frequent risk factor for bruxism is stress. There are other factors closely related to the pathology, such as age (frequent in young children during tooth replacement), personality type (hyperactive or aggressive), medication intake (bruxism is associated with side effects of some antidepressants, psychiatric medications, drugs…), and hereditary factors (family members who have or have had bruxism).

Apart from the splint, what is the solution to bruxism?

The treatment of bruxism is necessary to restore the balance between muscles, teeth and joints.

As such, the treatment is mainly centered on the use of an unloading splint. This splint has to be well adjusted and frequent check-ups have to be made to check certain aspects of the splint.

There are many different types of splints, but not all are valid.
To reduce stress before going to sleep, it is advisable not to use screens such as cell phones, tablets, and TV, moments before sleeping, as well as herbal teas, meditation…

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In more severe cases, physiotherapy treatment can be used to reduce muscle contractions associated with bruxism, and stress control through anxiolytic drugs (fortunately these are the least common).

For more information on bruxism and its effects, consult a dental specialist.