For diagnosing is a person has this particular habit, one should check for the following findings:

  1. Is there headache or pain in the ear during morning hours.
  2. Any one has pointed out this habit.
  3. Any senstivity of teeth
  4. Clicking of the jaw
  5. Sore jaw or face in the morning

There is no exact cure for bruxism. The main aim of treatment is to reduce any associated discomfort or pain and prevent the teeth from further damage. Children tend to outgrow this habit with age. A combined effort of both the parent and regular dental visits help to keep a check at the problem.

Mouthguard

It is a plastic mouth appliance given by a dentist, which absorbs the biting forces and prevents any damage to the teeth and its surrounding tissues. It is also called NIGHT GUARD or DENTAL GUARD or OCCLUSAL SPLINT. It is specially designed for each patient according to his upper and lower teeth and also their alignment. Mouth guards are helpful in various ways like:

  1. preventing any damage to TMJ because of the biting stresses.
  2. preventing tooth damage
  3. stabilizing occlusion of the patient

There are two types of dental mouth guards:

Repositioning Stock mouth guards: They come preformed and ready to use

Custom made mouth guards: Made by the dentist according to the dental structures of individual patient, after making the impression of the patient.

Splint: It is another appliance made to correct this habit. It is similar to mouth guard, but it is designed in such a way that it changes the bite or occlusion of the patient.  

NTI Tension Suppression System (NTI-TSS): It is the only non drug non surgical device made to prevent migraine pain. Pain is considered one of the major causes of grinding of teeth as the patient tends to clench his jaws. Such patients have a tendency to close their jaws in a centered, balanced position causing intense muscular contraction. This device is helps in reducing the trigeminally innervated muscular activity. It covers the anterior teeth and thus preventing any contact of the posterior teeth. This reduces the contraction of the tempolaris muscle.

Relaxation Techniques: Stress is also considered as one of the major causes of bruxism. Various techniques should be followed to reduce stress like visual imagery, autosuggestion, aversive conditioning( patient voluntarily clenches the jaws for 5secs and then relaxes them for 5secs). Meditation is one such method to over come stress. Taking a warm shower, reading a nice book, listening to soft music before going to bed are other ways of fighting stress. Discussing our fears or problems with our near and dear ones also helps a lot. Changing the posture of sleep also helps in some patients.

Repairing the Damaged Teeth: The teeth damaged due to grinding should be repaired. Prosthetic crowns are given on the damaged teeth. Porcelain fused to metal crowns are given on anterior teeth and full gold crowns are given for posterior teeth. In some chronically involved teeth root canal treatment, bridges, implants or prosthesis may also be needed.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements: Various vitamins and minerals help to reduce stress and hence, reduce grinding of teeth. Calcium, Vit.C are few of such kind that alleviate stress.

Medication: Generally medication is not very effective in bruxism. But in some patients, the doctor may advise some muscle relaxants before bed time. Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections can be helpful in patients with severe bruxism.

Biofeedback: It is an electronic instrument that measures the amount of muscle activity of the mouth and the jaws. It is especially helpful in day time bruxers. Helps to find out the intensity of muscle activity.

Permanent Dentition: This habit of grinding teeth is self corrective in most children at the time of eruption of permanent dentition since the permanent teeth are more tender and so the children avoid any clenching of their jaws.

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