the common belief about people who brux (i.e., grind or clench their teeth during sleep) is that they are stressed out and that they harbor suppressed emotions. Sigmund Freud would most probably interpret bruxism as an oral manifestation of aggression, since it involves the violent gnashing of teeth. in an online article i recently read, bruxism was considered as possible manifestation of obstructive sleep apnea, wherein the jaw movements are meant to expand the airways so that more oxygen can aerate an oxygen-deprived brain. genetic predisposition and side-effect of medicines can also be factors in bruxism.
whatever the reason for the bruxism, it can lead to jaw and body discomfort and pain which become very disruptive to the flow of everyday living.
this is where stress management comes in. through manual therapy, the patient with temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can experience physical relief from discomfort and pain.
counseling or psychotherapy provides the patient with a safe venue for releasing pent-up emotions that maintain the bruxism.
of course, the ever-reliable nightguards help in decreasing the damage caused by bruxing.
sometimes, anti-depressants, muscle relaxants, and analgesics are prescribed. hot packs, jaw exercises, relaxation techniques (meditation, etc.) and nutritional supplements all make for a holistic therapeutic regimen.