Chronic teeth grinding or bruxism primarily occurs at night while someone is sleeping but causes horrible consequences when they wake. The subconscious act of grinding the teeth or clenching the jaws leads to several temporary or permanent health problems. A few of the problems that someone experiences from bruxism include loss of dental enamel, jaw pain and severe headaches. Finding effective ways to avoid tooth grinding while someone is sleeping is essential to improve their quality of life
New studies by researchers indicate that botulinum toxin can help to stop nighttime tooth grinding by paralyzing muscles located near the jaw joint. Mild forms of Botox are injected in the muscles of the face that help people to chew. Because a low dosage of botulinum toxin is used, it is still possible for someone to consume food but muscle clenching while sleeping is reduced. Several injections are required on each side of the face, and the effectiveness of treatments can last as long as three months.
Dental guards or occulsal splints are commonly used to protect the teeth during sport activities, but the devices are also effective for bruxism. Dental guards are custom-made by a professional orthodontist with experience in treating teeth grinding. A computer image is made of the patient’s facial bone structure and teeth to create a mold for a dental guard that covers all or part of the teeth. This dental appliance is meant to prevent cracked enamel and pain in the temporomandibular joint.
An additional treatment for teeth gnashing at night is using biofeedback techniques to retrain an individual to avoid this habit. Methods include monitoring of the muscles with mechanisms to wake an individual who is clenching their jaw or grinding teeth while sleeping. A mouth guard with an unpleasant tasting substance that is released during bruxism can change the subconscious mind’s behavior that leads to teeth grinding. Biofeedback therapy can take several months of treatment to change the habit of bruxism.
There are a variety of prescription medications including anticonvulsants, muscle relaxants and antidepressants that may help to reduce or stop teeth grinding or bruxism at night. Trial and error by a physician is required to determine the best medication for each patient, depending on their other health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes mellitus. A physician from Paramount Dentistry must choose a medication carefully to relieve teeth grinding that does not cause side effects such as insomnia, nausea or dry mouth.
Seek Immediate Treatment for Bruxism
Many individuals are unaware they are grinding their teeth at night until a dental examination reveals damaged enamel in particular areas of the mouth. An individual may visit a Paramount Dentistry physician for other problems that occur from chronic bruxism such as earaches or neck pain. Occasionally, a family member or friend notices the teeth gnashing first due to the noise it makes as someone is sleeping. Immediate treatment is needed for nighttime teeth grinding to avoid permanent damage to dental enamel.