Bruxism is excessive clenching or grinding of the teeth that is not a part of the normal chewing movements. It can lead to excessive wear or breakage of teeth. In some adults and children the clenching and grinding may occur at night as well as during the day. During sleep they have no conscious control over these excessive movements.
Obvious markers of grinding and clenching can appear such as:
- flattened and worn tooth surfaces
- microfractures in the enamel
- broken or chipped teeth
- pain and temperature sensitivity in the teeth
- pain and stiffness in the jaw joint muscles
- tension headaches
There are 2 options available to treat excessive clenching and grinding:
A custom made occlusal splint (nightguard) which is to be worn at night.
Small doses of botox/dysport are injected directly into the muscle that moves the jaw. This helps the muscle to relax, and in turn, stops involuntary grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw. Voluntary movements, such as chewing and facial expressions, are not effected at all.
Either option will reduce the wear and tear on the teeth.