Bruxism: Check Treatment Options
Bruxism is a common problem, which affects 20% of people in Brazil, and consists of the reflex of involuntarily grinding the teeth. "The force employed in this movement can cause symptoms such as temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ) and teeth which can spread to the face, neck and head, and increase the volume of the muscle involved in mastication," explains the odontologist Artur Cerri, scientific advisor to the Brazilian Association of Dental Surgeons (ABCD).
The diagnosis of this disorder, however, is not always easy. According to Cerri, the ranger usually occurs at night, since during the day the person is constantly using his mouth to talk, eat and other activities. In these cases, the patient arrives first with the pain, and the bruxism ends up being a hypothesis raised after several others have been discarded. "It is very common for the partner to detect this when sleeping with the person who has bruxism," says the specialist.
Once the problem is identified, treatment options vary little. "The most important thing is to evaluate the condition of the teeth and the enamel," says dentist Alessandra Rodrigues, a dentist at Sorridents and the Sorridents Institute. For Cerri, the main focus of treatments is on taking the conditioning of grinding teeth, which is done in different ways in the treatments. Understand better how each treatment for bruxism works:
Dental plaques are tailor-made for teeth, usually made of acrylic or silicone. The plaques are positioned around the top or bottom teeth and are made from a mold of the patient's mouth ... "They act to soften the patient's pain and prevent the teeth from wearing out or even breaking," says Alessandra.
However, for Cerri his most important action is to break the person's conditioning of grinding his teeth by getting between them. "When the tooth touches the acrylic or silicone surface, the sensation is different from the friction with another tooth." This strangeness blocks the friction reflex, "explains the specialist.
Patients usually fit well on the plates, but the duration of the treatment is undefined and usually measured in the long term. "In the meantime, one needs to properly clean the teeth and plaque, as well as prevent loss or breakage of the material, which needs to be used every night," says Artur Cerri.
When Patient does not adapt to treatment with dental plaques, a second option is the treatment with botulinum toxin (popularly known as botox). "In the case of bruxism, it is applied to the masseter, the main muscle of the TMJ. Without this force, it can not rub the teeth with the old force, which decondition the patient," explains Cerri .
The effect of botulinum toxin lasts four to six months. After this, the patient is reassessed and may have the substance reapplied if he continues to grind his teeth without it.
Treatment for anxiety
In addition to these treatments, it is very important that the patient seeks to treat the cause of his bruxism, which is usually related to anxiety. In these cases, the dentist usually suggests a psychological follow-up to the patient. "However, it is important to remember that without effective treatment of the teeth, either with the plaque or with the botulinum toxin, the patient will not show improvement and can damage the structure of their teeth," says Cerri.
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