Bruxism (teeth grinding) is a very common condition that affects approximately 30 million to 40 million children and adults in the U.S. alone.
It can be a matter of:
1. Holding the teeth tightly together and clenching the muscles, but without movement;
2. Rubbing the teeth together as the jaw moves forcefully either from side to side or back and forth.
Either way… ouchies! Right?
Interestingly, and usually, the person is not aware that they are doing it, so the damage is done silently!
Grinding your teeth can create wear and tear of the denture, may cause breaks in your teeth and produce a misaligned bite, temporomandibular joint disorder or even tooth loss.
Symptoms include jaw soreness or tight jaw muscles, pain and stiffness in the temporomandibular joint, facial pain, headaches (mostly at the temple bones), earache, disrupted sleep (for you or your partner) and increased tooth sensitivity!
The causes are not clear but several factors may be involved. Regularly bruxism is related to stress, anger or anxiety and can be the cause or consequence of sleeping disorders.
As the cause is not clear the treatment also may have different approaches:
Medication: It includes de use of muscle relaxants, botox injection, antidepressants or anti-anxiety.
Dental approaches: Mouth guards to keep teeth separated to avoid the damage caused by clenching and dental correction.
Manage of stress, anxiety and sleeping disorders with sleep hygiene, cognitive behavioural therapy and changes in life style, like smoking, drinking alcohol, etc.
Osteopaths or physiotherapists are another good alternative to managing bruxism, which will consist of a personal plan of treatment focussed on the causes and consequences of grinding the teeth such as muscle pain, headaches, tension on the jaw, muscle imbalances, etc. to make it less frequent and minimise the discomfort and long term damage.
The treatment can include local work around the mouth, face, head and neck. For instance, soft tissue therapy to the muscles around the mandible (internally or externally) to reduce the tightness and pain relief. Awareness exercises for tongue positioning may also be used!
Also, the triggers such as stress or anxiety can be address with the treatment, which may and should involve treatment for any related tension, such as in the back!
The new evidence supports this idea, showing that the combination of therapies led to a reduction in the intensity of signs and symptoms among individuals with sleep bruxism.
So, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, or you already have been diagnosed with bruxism, or even if your other half tells you that you are grinding your teeth, come for an initial consultation at Function360, where qualified osteopaths and physiotherapists will assess you, identify the compensations and the areas with potential to improve to help you manage your symptoms and prevent further complications!