Prosthodontist Blake M. Mueller, DDS Westlake Village CA
Bruxism is an oral parafunctional activity which commonly occurs with most people at some point in their lives. The two main characteristics of this condition are grinding the teeth and clenching of the jaw. These actions often occur during a person’s sleeping hours, but they may also occur during the day.
Bruxism is one of the most common known sleep disorders. Chewing is a neuromuscular activity controlled by a subconscious process, but more highly controlled by the brain. During sleep, the subconscious process may become active while the higher control is inactive (asleep), resulting in bruxism. The most common symptoms are earaches and headaches, depression, eating disorders, anxiety, and chronic stress.
Patients may require an appliance to treat this condition. This appliance called a nightguard or splint is a thin piece of acrylic that fits intimately over the teeth. This type of appliance can help to reduce bruxism and protect the teeth from further wear.
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Why should I seek treatment for Bruxism?
Gum Recession – Grinding teeth can damage the soft tissue directly and lead to loose teeth and deep pockets where bacteria are able to colonize and decay the supporting bone.
Facial Pain – Grinding can eventually shorten and blunt the teeth. This can lead to muscle pain in the myofascial region and, in severe cases, incapacitating headaches.
Occlusal Trauma – The abnormal wear patterns on the occlusal (chewing) surfaces of the teeth can lead to fractures, which if left untreated, may require restorative treatment at a later time.
Arthritis – In the most severe cases, bruxism can eventually lead to painful arthritis in the temporomandibular (TMJ) joints that allow the jaw to open and close smoothly.
Though there is no one cure for bruxism, there are a variety of devices and services available from our office to help treat bruxism.
Nightguard or Splint – An acrylic nightguard can be designed from teeth impressions to minimize the abrasive grinding action during normal sleep. Nightguards are expected to be worn on a long-term basis to help prevent tooth damage.
NTI-tss Device – This device only covers the front teeth and must be fitted at our office. The idea behind the NTI-tss is to prevent grinding the rear molars by limiting the contraction of the temporalis muscle in the jaw.
Once bruxing is under control, we can perform a variety of dental procedures to restore the pleasant aesthetic appearance to your smile such as crowns, gum grafts and crown lengthening.