Symptoms Of Bruxism

Physical symptoms: headache, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) discomfort and muscle aches, facial myalgia (muscle pain), ear ache, tightness and stiffness of the shoulders, limitation of mouth opening and sleep disruption of the individual as well as the bed partner.

Oral symptoms: abnormal tooth wear, fracture of the teeth, inflammation and recession of the gums, excess tooth mobility and premature loss of teeth.

Headache seems to be the most commonly cited area of pain and it is estimated that bruxists are three times more likely to suffer headache than non-bruxists. Individuals with long-standing bruxism appear to be more likely to have craniofacial pain than non-bruxists.

It should be noted that these symptoms may not necessarily indicate a straight forward cause-effect relationship. For example, depression can conceivably be an effect of persistent TMJ discomfort rather than its cause.

In the case of children, bruxism often occurs with obstructive nasal and breathing symptoms due to overlarge tonsils and adenoids. They experience more arousals from sleep than adults but whether this is due to bruxism alone or their obstructive symptoms needs further investigation. However, it has been found that there is a greater incidence of behaviour and attention difficulties in children with bruxism. Similarly, it is unknown whether bruxism is the cause of increased arousals and behavioural problems or if children with behaviour and attention difficulties exhibit altered sleep along with bruxism. It is known that sleep fragmentation secondary to sleep-disordered breathing in children can lead to behaviour, attention and executive function problems.

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