Treatment of night grinding/Bruxism

The phenomenon of excessive teeth grinding and/or clenching of jaw is referred to as Bruxism. A report done this year reveals that 10%-16% of adult population has night grinding. Both males and females were equally affected with less prevalence in elderly community.

Various treatment or intervention methods have been proposed, the major ones being mentioned below:

  • Occlusal management: Two major strategies are involved; occlusal appliance and true occlusal interventions. This deals with the fit of teeth as the jaws meet. The most prevalent treatment is the use of occlusal splints. They are known by different names such as bite guard, bruxism appliance, bite plate etc. By using this, the grinding noise is significantly reduced, also protecting the teeth from wear and tear.
  • Pharmacologic approach: This approach relies on the usage of drugs administered strictly on the basis of patient reports. General drugs include muscle relaxants that temporarily affect the activity rate of jaw muscle. However, long time effects of these medications are still under studies. Anxiolytic and sedative drugs that release anxiety are also being used but here also reliability of their use is of concern since low blood pressure has been noted in almost 20% of affected patients.
  • Behavioural approach: Several techniques like meditation, autosuggestion, progressive relaxation, sleep hygiene etc constitutes this treatment procedure. To mention some of them, autosuggestions are given to the patients to make them aware of their habit. However, this procedure lacks scientific evidence. Hypnotic approach also has a profound relief on some patients.
  • Sleep hygiene: This methods aims at maintaining a good sleep by getting rid of stimulants like cigars, coffee, tea etc. This results in less frequent arousals since more time is consumed in deep sleep stages.