The condition of bruxism simply refers to a disorder more commonly known as teeth grinding or clenching of the teeth. Many people grind or clench their teeth while they are awake or even when they are asleep. In either case, they may or may not even be aware that they are doing it. While the causes of bruxism are still not quite agreed upon and may vary from person to person, the symptoms associated with it are quite well known.
Causes of bruxism
For those that do suffer from bruxism, it is believed that it may be partly caused by misaligned teeth or an abnormal bite. Sleeping habits, posture, and diet are possible factors as well. Stress is also thought to be a trigger for the condition in many people and how much stress a person is under could worsen the condition. Each person is different though and the exact causes of bruxism could be due a single problem or combination of different problems and habits. Many people occasionally do clench or grind their teeth but suffer no harmful problems. Even some people that could be diagnosed as having bruxism don’t suffer from any of the symptoms that are associated with it, however, other people aren’t as lucky and can develop some or all of the symptoms of bruxism.
Symptoms of bruxism
The result of clenching or grinding can lead to quite a few problems and not all of them are constrained to just the jaw and mouth. Temporomandibular joint problems can occur because of frequent or chronic clenching and this can lead to difficulty with chewing or biting, aches and pains, headache, and even a reduction in how well you can open and close your mouth. The grinding commonly associated with bruxism can also lead to tooth loss or even fracture. The teeth could be worn down over time by chronic grinding and this could require extensive dental procedures or surgery. Common tooth problems include: bridges, implant, crowns, root canals, or perhaps even partial or complete dentures may also be needed to correct teeth problems due to bruxism.
Ear ache has been known to result from bruxism as the joints of the jaw are close to the ear canal and can cause perceived pain in this location. This problem can sometimes be misconstrued with an ear infection because of similar symptoms. Increases in stress level, tension, and anxiety are just a few of the common symptoms. Bruxism has also been known to cause insomnia, headache, jaw pain, and can even lead to the development of an eating disorder or depression.