What is Bruxism?

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is fairly common, as sleep bruxism affects as many as 10% of adults and 15% of children. Diurnal bruxism, otherwise known as awake bruxism, impacts as much as 50% of law enforcement officers and nearly 60% of IT professionals. We have already seen the two types of bruxism, nocturnal and awake, but we need to understand what this is on a deeper level.

The word bruxism comes from the Greek bryx which means ‘gnashing of the teeth.’ It was first coined by Bertrand Frohman in 1931, but there is evidence of the condition as far back as Biblical times. Displaying one’s teeth in a clinched fashion is a natural instinct, and is displayed in animals.

The biggest causes of bruxism are stress and anxiety.

This is true of both sleep bruxism and awake bruxism. If your family has a history of this disorder, you are more likely to have this condition. People who suffer from bruxism while they are awake may be aware of it, but eventually the behavior becomes automatic.

Bruxism rarely occurs alone.

If you grind your teeth while sleeping, this is usually taken as a sign of another sleep disorder, such as sleep talking, hypnagogic hallucinations, and REM sleep disorders. Nearly 80% of bruxism occurs in clusters.

This condition is then further divided into two more categories: primary and secondary. Primary bruxism is when grinding and gnashing of the teeth happens without another medical condition present. Secondary bruxism is when the grinding of teeth is associated with a medical or psychological condition is known, and one grinds their teeth as a symptom of the disorder.

Those who suffer from bruxism ought to know that this is a serious condition. The enamel of your teeth wears down at four times the normal rate. Grinding one’s teeth produces up to 250 pounds of force per square inch. This is enough pressure to crack a walnut, so it is easy to imagine what it can do to one’s teeth.

Additional consequences

There are additional results of prolonged bruxism. Teeth are often ground down, which leads to sensitivity to heat and cold. Gum recession is frequently seen when one has this disease. Loose teeth may need to be put back into their places. Muscles in the jaw tend to ache at all hours of the day, and numerous headaches have been reported by those who have this condition.

No cure for bruxism has been developed. One cannot treat the condition itself, but there are steps you can take to help alleviate its effects. Dental guards will help protect your teeth. Occlusal splints partially cover the teeth that are most affected, which helps protect them in the long run. As was mentioned before, stress is a common cause of this disease. Eliminating the stressor helps, as does having an effective means of dealing with stress.

If you have any questions about bruxism or any disorders related to dentistry, the experts at SmilesNY can help. We can use our years of experience to help make your smile glow. Call us today at (212) 752-6537.