The masseter is a strong, dense muscle that lifts the jaw upward and presses it against the upper teeth. Uncontrolled masseters activity and their excessive tension lead to involuntary teeth clenching and friction, resulting in a characteristic grinding sound. This is the bruxism that is becoming a problem for an increasing number of patients.
Bruxism – causes
In doctors opinion, bruxism is a psychosomatic disorder. This means that in addition to such factors as malocclusion, improperly chosen bridges, seals and crowns, or even excessive gum chewing, the development of bruxism is also influenced by psychological factors. Its cause may be, above all, excessive and long lasting stress and living in a constant tension.
Bruxism – symptoms and effects
Bruxism is classified as a sleep disorder, as its symptoms occur at night. Extremely strong tension of the masseter muscles makes the teeth push too much, resulting in abrasion. What’s more, in some cases it can lead to teeth crushing and breaking. Over time, inflammation and degenerative states may occur in the joints. The movements of the mandible become more difficult, limited and cause pain.
Interestingly, the consequences associated with this disease are not limited to complaints within the mandible itself. Untreated bruxism can also be the cause of severe migraines and pain in the face, throat, neck, back or shoulders. Often it is a hidden source of our problems with the spine, sight, hearing and even libido.
In some cases, bruxism also affects our relationships with the partner. Teeth grinding is quite loud and can wake up a person sleeping next to us at night, leading to conflicts or sleeping problems.
In the long term, people suffering from bruxism may also notice negative changes in the appearance of their face. Excessive activity of masseter muscles makes them more visible, which results in deformation of the patient’s face shape.