Cerebral palsy is a congenital neurological disorder that affects coordination and movement. It can lead to a number of complications, including oral health complications such as bruxism. Bruxism refers to clenching or grinding your teeth, and it's common among cerebral palsy sufferers. Here are four things cerebral palsy sufferers need to know about bruxism.
How does cerebral palsy cause bruxism?
Cerebral palsy can lead to bruxism in a few different ways. First, cerebral palsy can lead to spasticity—involuntary stiffening and tightening of your muscles—which, when it affects the jaw muscles, can lead to involuntary clenching and grinding of the teeth.
Second, you may experience oral myofunctional disturbance; in layman's terms, this means that the muscles in your face rest in abnormal positions or that you stick your tongue out of your teeth while you're talking, chewing or swallowing. This abnormal positioning can make you clench and grind.
Third, people with cerebral palsy may have a backbone dysfunction that forces their head forwards, and this altered position changes the way that your teeth fit together and makes your chewing muscles hyperactive, leading to clenching and grinding.
What are the signs of bruxism?
If you're experiencing bruxism, you'll feel pain or tightness in the muscles near your jaw or on your face. Your teeth may be sensitive, and when you look at them in the mirror, you may notice that they're flattened and chipped from the forces of your bruxism.
Why does it matter if you clench and grind?
Chronic clenching and grinding puts a lot of strain on your teeth, and the forces you exert can chip, break or loosen your teeth. Over time, people with bruxism may lose some or all of their teeth and need to rely on restorations like dentures.
If bruxism isn't treated, it can lead to a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder. This disorder is often associated with chronic pain and can leave you unable to open your mouth. To avoid these problems, see your dentist for treatment.
How do dentists treat it?
Your dentist may be able to protect your teeth with a removable retainer called a bite splint. This splint won't stop your clenching, but it will cushion the impact. Some people with cerebral palsy have trouble wearing these splints because the splints make them gag. If you can't wear the splint comfortably, there are other options. Your dentist can cover your teeth with crowns to protect them from wear and damage.
If you have cerebral palsy and think you're clenching or grinding your teeth, see your dentist right away. To learn more, contact a dental clinic like West Lakes Family Dentistry.Share