Bruxism is a health condition in which a person grinds or clenches their teeth. The root cause of the disorder is unknown, but it seems to often be connected to heightened stress. This practice involves any type of aggressive interaction between one’s teeth, whether the action forces the teeth against one another or involves the sustained, noiseless practice of clenching.
Tooth-grinding affects between 50 and 95% of adults, according to various analyses. Children are fortunately less likely to experience the condition, although 1 in every 7 kids suffer from the ailment as well.
Although teeth-grinding is often described as a habit, it is actually the activation of the chewing reflex, often while sleeping. Chewing is accomplished through neuromuscular reflexes that are managed within the brain. The reason that bruxism occurs during sleep (when it does) is that the chewing reflex is still functional, but mental oversight is not.
Professionals disagree on the likeliest causes for bruxism. Some believe it is due to an asymmetrical relationship between the teeth, while others believe its source is typically in the mind (anxiety or insomnia) or digestive tract (indigestion or other issues).
3 common medical conditions that can arise from bruxism
Often those who grind their teeth are not even aware that it is occurring because they aren’t awake when it happens. Instead of perceiving the practice directly, they start to suffer from dull headaches.
Sharon Thompson, a mother of two, wrongly believed that her headaches were caused by stress, until she spit out chipped porcelain from a crown and visited a dentist to have it fixed. The dentist informed her that her “terrible” tooth-grinding was causing her pain.
2. TMJ /TMD
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder or temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is experienced by 15% of adults in the United States. The population of women suffering from TMJ is, per capita, more than double that of men. It can be a symptom or offshoot of other health conditions, such as arthritis or jaw injury. Stress and overuse of the jaw – particularly through teeth-grinding – can initiate or aggravate TMD.
37 million Americans suffer from migraine, which is often accompanied by bruxism. Migraine pain arises when the brain instructs the trigeminal nerve to release neurotransmitters that result in swollen blood vessels – which in turn generate incredible discomfort, nausea, and other symptoms.
The trigeminal nerve is also the nerve associated with the masseter muscle, which controls jaw clenching. When the trigeminal nerve becomes active during a migraine, it’s possible that the masseter muscles become engaged as well, leading to bruxism. However, the high comorbidity of the two disorders does not make it clear which disorder typically contributes to the other.
Solving bruxism before it does further damage
Damage from the grinding of teeth can began to effective your life in a negative way and the symptoms only get worse with time. Treating the pain of teeth-grinding requires sophisticated, diverse approaches – as are available through a multidisciplinary or integrative pain management center, such as Pain Stop Clinics. If you are suffering from bruxism, contact us to get a free consultation today.