Approximately 40 million adults are affected by the frequent, and usually involuntary grinding, clenching, or gnashing of their teeth, known as bruxism. Bruxism can occur when either awake or during sleep, and in fact, the risks of clenching or grinding at night is increased when clenching occurs during the day.
With bruxism, the grinding force exerted can increase to 200-300 pounds of pressure, which is many times more powerful than what is typically used during regular chewing. When this grinding occurs on a frequent basis, teeth can be flattened, fractured, chipped or loosened. Worn tooth enamel can cause tooth pain or sensitivity, and gingival recession can occur. Additionally, other side effects may occur including headaches or migraines, ear symptoms such as tinnitus, neck pain, sleep disruption, TMJ discomfort, and depression.
There are many factors that may contribute to bruxism including lifestyle, stress factors, mental and physical disorders, medications, or imperfect tooth positioning within the closed jaw. However, it is often associated with anxiety, stress, fear, or fatigue. In addition, many lifestyle choices can increase the risk of bruxism such as alcohol, tobacco, recreational drugs, or caffeine. Certain common conditions have been associated with bruxism including ADHD, autism, depression, and sleep disorders such as snoring and sleep apnea.
Although management of bruxism can be challenging, reducing the harmful or extensive results can depend on early diagnosis and treatment, and a thorough dental examinations is the best way to identify it. Many treatment options have been utilized with varying results, yet a new approach is available today.
Botulinum toxin, or Botox is now available for the management of bruxism, without the risk of unwanted side effects that other treatments may carry. The Botox is injected into the muscles to relax them without affecting proper function. Typically, treatment takes only a few minutes and relief of symptoms usually begins by the next day.
If would like more information about identifying bruxism and how Botox may help you manage the symptoms, Dr. Heidi Finkelstein and her caring staff at My Plantation Dentist can help. To schedule your appointment, please contact us today at 954-584-1030.