Bruxism is an ugly word that describes an annoying and sometimes unhealthy nocturnal habit. The word has its origins in Greek and literally means gnashing of teeth. While many people suffer from occasional bouts of bruxism, for some it becomes a real problem.
Bruxism is one of the commonest sleeping disorders, most people do not even know that they have it, with only about 5% of sufferers going on to develop symptoms that alert them to the condition, though often it is diagnosed by a partner. There are a variety of symptoms that can help people diagnose the condition. The most common are jaw pain, tinnitus, neck pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression and headaches, which the person with the condition will notice themselves, your dentist might notice abnormal teeth wear patterns, which can help with diagnosis as well. Because of the way the teeth move in a side to side motion during sleep, the signs are fairly obvious to a dentist.
One of the easiest ways of treating bruxism is to wear a mouth guard at night. This stops the teeth grinding and can over time help treat the habit so the guard is no longer required.
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