What Is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a condition in which you grind, gnash, or clench your teeth, whether unconsciously while awake, or in the case of Sleep-Related Bruxism, while you sleep. Sleep-Related Bruxism is classified as a sleep-related movement disorder by the International Classification of Sleep Disorders.

Sleep-Related Bruxism is reported by approximately 15% in the pediatric population and between 8% and 31% in the general adult population, without a difference in prevalence between the sexes.

Symptoms of Bruxism

Sleep Apnea Symptoms in Adults

Common signs and symptoms of Sleep-Related Bruxism include:

  • Teeth grinding and/or clenching.
  • Loose, flattened, and/or fractured teeth.
  • Tooth enamel that is worn-down to expose underneath layers of the tooth.
  • Tooth pain and/or sensitivity.
  • Interrupted sleep due to noise from tooth grinding/clenching or tooth pain.
  • Tight or fatigued jaw muscles.
  • Locked or stuck jaw.
  • Pain or soreness of the jaw, neck, or face.
  • Damage to the inside of your cheek from chewing.

Causes of Bruxism

The causes of Bruxism and Sleep-Related Bruxism are not completely understood by doctors or the medical community, but there are a variety of correlated factors, whether physical, psychological, or genetic, that may be the cause.

These factors include:

  • Anxiety.
  • Stress.
  • Sleep-related breathing disorders such as: Sleep Apnea or Upper Airway Resistance (VARS).

How is Bruxism Treated?

On its own, mild cases of Bruxism may not be severe enough to warrant medical treatment. However, Sleep-Related Bruxism is very commonly a sign of a larger sleep breathing disorder, such as Sleep Apnea, causing insufficient oxygen while sleeping.

Everyone assumes they are breathing and getting enough oxygen during sleep; few recognize that nighttime teeth grinding and clenching (bruxing) is an unconscious activity of the brain to stimulate the throat muscle in an effort to prevent suffocation. This repeated action all night long, over extended periods of time, wears down the tooth and jaw joints resulting in TMJ pain, headaches, musculoskeletal pain, TMJ dysfunctions and facial neuralgias.

Sleep breathing disorders such as Sleep Apnea that are likely the root cause of Sleep-Related Bruxism are diagnosed by a medical doctor, but can be treated by a dentist with special understanding and training on this life threatening breathing disorder. At present, the primary method for diagnosing sleep breathing disorders is to have the patient undergo a sleep study, known as Polysomnography (PSG) or Home Sleep Test (HST). Here at TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Montana, we are happy to assist our patients in coordination of any necessary sleep testing.

TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Montana provides dental sleep medicine. Dental sleep medicine is the management of medically diagnosed sleep-related breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea, using oral appliance therapy for adults and orthopedic orthodontics for airway development or correction for children. Dr. VanDyke of TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Montana is currently the only dentist in the state of Montana with a Diplomate degree in Dental Sleep Medicine. As such, she has the needed experience to help her patients achieve higher outcomes, improving their overall health.

If you or a loved one are suffering the symptoms of Bruxism, TMJ, Sleep Apnea, Snoring, OSA, or any other sleep-related breathing disorder, call The TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Montana, we are here to help!
Call and make an appointment today! We are the experts on these conditions and we will provide you with the very best care. improving quality of life one patient at a time.

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The Independent Doctors and Health Providers of Montana