Bruxism is an oral parafunctional habit that frequently occurs in most people at some point in their lives. The 2 main features of this condition include grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaws which ultimately can lead to muscle soreness. These actions usually occur during a patient’s sleeping hours, but can 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 signs and symptoms seen with bruxism include earaches, headaches, depression, eating disorders, anxiety, and chronic stress.
A bite splint is the most common treatment utilized for the treatment and relief of bruxism. This device is a clear plastic device that fits over the surfaces of your top teeth and forces your facial muscles to relax. It also protects the surfaces of your teeth from further damage and destruction that can be caused with the forces that occur when your top and bottom teeth grind together. This device provides relief for bruxism patients and is usually worn during the nighttime hours.