Bruxism / Tooth Grinding / Jaw Clenching / Teeth Clenching / Parasomnia
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Bruxism - Treatment
There are two primary objectives in the treatment of bruxism: stress reduction and tooth care.
a. Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques to calm the mind and cut the psychological stress is a welcome intervention for victims of bruxism. The practice of meditation to is widely recommended for bruxism victims.
b. Specialized Training
Specialized training for bruxism victims also known as 'biofeedback training' is employed to help the victim unlearn forceful chewing techniques, with a view to reducing the impact on the teeth during unconscious grinding or clenching.
Importantly, the traininge guides victims to use minimal pressure while chewing or biting and is extended to the victims for a specified time frame, in order to reinforce the technique. Once it becomes an unconscious habit, it helps reduce the injury on the teeth to a great extent.
Additionally, the training also focuses on breathing techniques, positive reinforcement and envisioning a stress free environment that significantly cuts down stress associated with bruxism.
The treatment options available are:
a. Night Guard
Dentists recommend the use of night-guards, a tailor made plastic shield designed by the dentists after taking appropriate measurements. True to its name, the guard is used during nights and is snugly positioned between the upper and lower teeth. It protects the teeth from further injury due to grinding or clenching. Victims may be hesitant in the first instance to use a foreign device such as a night guard in their mouths. But knowing how much it helps their problem, many patients are happy to use the device and reduce the injury to their teeth.
b. Dental Work
Grinding or clenching of teeth causes them to chip and wear out. The enamel also faces the brunt of bruxism. The dentist analyses the extent of damage and accordingly plans the treatment.
Treatment could entail the use of fillings to repair the teeth and remedy the cracks or chipping of teeth. To prevent further damage, the dentist may recommend the use of night guard and specialized training to arrest the injury to the teeth as a result of bruxism.
If a child has worm infestation it is worth getting the child dewormed, this may help cure the condition.
d. Other Treatments
Muscle relaxants along with warm compress is beneficial in easing tense and stiff jaw muscles. A specialized technique called 'Rolfing' is also gaining popularity as a relief for bruxism victims. Rolfing is an intense massage performed by a qualified masseuse to relax the jaw muscles.