Bruxism is a disorder affecting as much as 80% of the population at some point in their lives. Known from a Greek word meaning “gnashing of teeth”, Bruxism covers tooth grinding and jaw-muscle clenching that can cause teeth to break or become worn, cause headaches or even migraines, as well as cause or aggravate Temporormandibular Joint disorder (TMJ). Bruxism can occur with adults and children, but is most common in adults over twenty-five. Many people occasionally suffer from temporary bouts of Bruxism, grinding or clenching their teeth, usually during times of stress.
Dental appliances are available from your dentist that can relieve Bruxism symptoms. Some commonly used treatment options are known as full arch dental appliances, such as Michigan Splints. Recently, smaller splints, such as the NTI-tss, have been developed and have proven to be successful in reducing Bruxism symptoms.
Bruxism sufferers experience short and long term symptoms that often are misdiagnosed for years. Due to the wide range of symptoms and that symptoms often appear and disappear erratically, or may be stress-induced, people with Bruxism may suffer untreated for a long time. Dentists are becoming more aggressively involved in diagnosing Bruxism and educating patients in the symptoms associated with this disorder. Successful treatments are available and can sometimes bring immediate symptom relief.
Research of Bruxism causes has revealed the importance of easing the intensity with which a person can clench their jaws during sleep. The tiny muscles that allow us to open and close our jaw joint can quickly become overwhelmed when a person suffers from the nocturnal clenching of teeth that is a primary symptom of Bruxism. This over-use of these very small muscles leads to chronic symptoms such as pain in the jaw, headaches, facial tics and over-toned muscle tissues. The dental appliance prohibits clenching of the back teeth, allowing only minor pressure on the canines. This slight alteration in the ability to apply pressure to all the teeth during sleep results in tremendous relief to Bruxism sufferers. Studies have found that people suffering from long-term tension headaches clench their jaws during sleep 14 times more intensely that non-headache sufferers.
The appliance is made of a clear plastic material that is durable and slightly flexible. Custom-fit to your teeth, it is very comfortable to wear and unobtrusive. There is little adjustment time necessary for the wearer to become accustomed to their appliance and relief can often be found from the first night’s use with the wearer experiencing better, sounder sleep.