The bruxism is a disorder consisting of unconscious clenching or even grinding of the teeth against each other (the lower arch against the upper arch).
It is a problem that is affecting more and more people, which is explained by the fact that it is closely related to stress. Sometimes it becomes a chronic disorder that suffers from acute episodes (or periods) depending on the stress or anxiety suffered by the patient, depending on the time of life in which they find themselves.
Bruxism affects men and women equally, with small percentage variations depending on the location where the study is carried out, and its incidence decreases notably after the age of 65.
Classification of bruxism
Daytime or waking. It occurs during the day. It is most often a clenching of the teeth (known as central bruxism), but it rarely grinds (eccentric bruxism).
Nocturnal or in sleep. It is, on the other hand, the one that occurs during the night. It usually coincides with both clenching and grinding.
Causes of bruxism
The exact causes of bruxism are not known with certainty, but it is thought to be related to stress, anxiety and emotional tension. In addition, certain habits, such as nail biting or gum chewing, may also contribute to bruxism. Alcohol and tobacco use may also increase the risk of bruxism.
Symptoms of bruxism
Bruxism can cause a variety of symptoms, such as headache, jaw pain, tooth weartooth sensitivity and muscle pain. In some cases, bruxism can even cause nerve damage and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems.
To diagnose bruxism, it is necessary to visit a dental clinic, where a dentist, an expert in the field, will assess your specific case. The prevalence of bruxism in society is high, although it occurs more frequently at certain ages and under common factors such as stress combined with the consumption of caffeine or alcohol, among others.
For example, in a study published by the Revista Estomatológica Herediana de LimaThe study found that 52.1% of students at the University of Cuenca (Ecuador) suffered from bruxism in 2016.
However, prevalence data on this disease are quite variable, and often based on surveys or self-reporting, rather than on supportable scientific evidence, as noted by a study last year in Spain at the Journal of Negative and No Positive Results. This study states that, according to the available data, and taking an average, the population affected by bruxism could be broken down as follows:
- Children around 6 years of age would be the most affected, reaching a prevalence of 30%.
- Young adults reach a maximum of 12%
- And at 60 years of age it drops to 3% of the population.
The most common treatment for bruxism is the Michigan or discharge splint. This is a device that is custom-made for each patient from a rigid material that prevents the upper and lower teeth from coming into contact.
This device is normally used exclusively during sleeping hours and has multiple benefits:
- Prevents wear of teeth and breakage and fracture of restorations and prosthetic rehabilitations
- Reduces tension pain in head, neck and masticatory muscles
- Improving rest
- Prevents jaw joint problems
In addition, the mouthguard is an appliance that is very easy to care for. All you need to do is brush your teeth before putting it on at night and then, when you take it off, clean it with water and neutral soap before putting it away in its case.
However, every time you go to the dental clinic it is important to remember to bring it with you for inspection and adjustments if necessary.