Bruxism is an oral para-functional activity observed in most people to some degree, includes clenching and/or grinding of the teeth. Bruxism affects a great portion of adults and estimates span from 50 to 95%. It is caused by the activation of reflex chewing activity; it is not a learned habit. Over time, bruxing shortens and blunts the teeth being ground, and may lead to pain in the joint of the jaw, the temporomandibular joint, or headaches. When bruxism causes the TMJ to become symptomatic and alter its normal function the condition is termed TMJ Dysfunction.
Unfortunately, there is no accepted cure for bruxism as yet. Ongoing management of bruxism is based on prevention of wear on the tooth surfaces by the wearing of an acrylic occlusal guard or night guard. These guards are very specifically designed to fit the patient’s bite. Their primary function is to protect the teeth from further wear and protect the muscles and joint from further strain and deterioration, decreasing the painful symptoms.