Awake Bruxism versus Sleeping Bruxism
Many people in Queens engage in “bruxism,” a largely nonconscious behavior of grinding the teeth or clenching the jaw. There are two main types of bruxism: awake bruxism and sleeping bruxism. Although both conditions are characterized by similar behavior, they appear to have different underlying causes. Awake bruxism is the more common variety of bruxism, and is more likely to be associated with jaw clenching than with tooth grinding. It is highly correlated with anxiety and stress. Sleeping bruxism occurs while the person is asleep, and often involves grinding of the teeth. It is theorized that sleep bruxism can be attributed to underlying neurobiological mechanisms that probably do not play a role in awake bruxism. Both types of bruxism are common in Queens, and several treatment approaches are available.
Although the exact underlying pathology of awake bruxism is not yet fully known, this condition has been shown to correlate strongly with anxiety and stress. In people with awake bruxism in Queens, jaw clenching is more common than tooth grinding, although both may occur. This condition is relatively common, around 20% of the adult population. In some cases, awake bruxism occurs in Queens secondary to another disease or disorder. Some studies have found that in geriatric populations, awake bruxism is common among patients with Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, and other neurodegenerative conditions. It is also a typical effect of some medications and recreational drugs, notably stimulants such as prescription ADHD medications or illicit substances like cocaine or methamphetamine. In many cases, awake bruxism appears to be a reaction related to stress. Treating or addressing underlying anxiety or stress may often help to alleviate awake bruxism. If untreated, the condition can cause dental problems, pain and soreness in the jaw joints and muscles, and headaches.
Sleep bruxism in Queens is caused by underlying neurophysiological factors that differ considerably from awake bruxism. Nationwide, sleeping bruxism is estimated to occur in around 8% of the adult population, though it may go unnoticed and undiagnosed since it occurs during sleep. In sleep bruxism, rhythmic jaw movements during sleep appear to be related to the activity of brainstem structures involved in regulating muscle tone during sleep. Jaw muscle activity in sleeping bruxism can take several forms. In some cases it is characterized as “phasic,” with three or more bursts of muscle activity occurring rapidly. It can also be “tonic,” with contractions lasting more than two seconds, or a mixture of both types. In most cases, these episodes occur during phases 1 and 2 of sleep, which are lighter NREM stages. Sleep bruxism correlates with periods of “micro-arousal” during sleep, which are brief and transient spikes in EEG activity. Interestingly, sleep bruxism is strongly correlated with obstructive sleep apnea, which may contribute to the frequency of micro-arousals during sleep. People with sleep bruxism in Queens may also be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, and may want to consider undergoing a sleep study to further investigate their sleeping problems. Obstructive sleep apnea interferes with the quality of a person’s sleep, and can cause excessive daytime drowsiness.