Bruxism & temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
|Description:||Bruxism is a medical condition characterized by involuntary grinding, gnashing, or clenching of the teeth. It commonly occurs during sleep, but can also happen while awake. This condition often leads to soreness or tension in the jaw muscles, tooth wear, headaches, and other related dental problems. Bruxism can be classified into awake bruxism (conscious grinding/clenching) and sleep bruxism (unconscious grinding/clenching).|
|Symptoms:||Common symptoms of bruxism include teeth grinding or clenching, jaw or facial pain, headaches, earaches, tooth sensitivity, damaged or worn-down teeth, tongue indentations, and disrupted sleep patterns for the affected individual or their sleep partner.|
|Causes:||The exact causes of bruxism are not completely understood. However, potential factors contributing to its development include stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, abnormal bite alignment, crooked or missing teeth, certain medications, alcohol or drug use, and genetics.|
|Diagnosis:||Diagnosis of bruxism typically involves a dental examination, evaluating symptoms, and discussing the patient's medical history. In some cases, a sleep study or further evaluation by a specialist may be required to rule out other sleep disorders or identify underlying causes.|
|Treatment:||The treatment approach for bruxism depends on the severity and underlying cause. It may involve stress management techniques, behavior modification, wearing a mouthguard or splint to protect teeth, dental correction or restoration, medication for pain relief or muscle relaxation, and addressing any associated sleep disorders or oral health issues.|
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- Teeth grinding or clenching during sleep or while awake
- Jaw muscles feeling tight or sore
- Frequent headaches, especially in the morning
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain or discomfort
- Tooth sensitivity or pain
- Unexplained jaw muscle fatigue
- Worn tooth enamel or flattened teeth
- Damaged dental restorations (e.g., fillings or crowns)
- Facial pain or tenderness
- Earaches or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
The diagnosis of bruxism involves several methods:
- Medical History: The dentist will ask about the patient's symptoms, oral health habits, medical history, and any existing medications.
- Dental Examination: A thorough examination of teeth, jaw muscles, and temporomandibular joints (TMJs) will be conducted. The dentist will look for signs of teeth grinding, abnormal wear patterns, and jaw muscle tenderness.
- Sleep Study: Polysomnography or a similar sleep study may be recommended to monitor the patient's sleep patterns, identify teeth grinding episodes, and determine the severity of bruxism.
- Bite Analysis: Dentists may use dental impressions, computer simulations, or bite analysis tools to assess the patient's bite and the forces exerted between the teeth during grinding.
- Collaboration: In some cases, the dentist may collaborate with other healthcare professionals, such as sleep specialists or neurologists, to ensure an accurate diagnosis.