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Parafunctional oral habits

  • April 20, 2022
  1. What are parafunctional oral habits and what do they involve?

Parafunctional oral habits refer to actions involving the mouth and jaw that do not relate to normal functions such as eating, speaking or swallowing. Examples include teeth grinding, clenching, nail biting, lip biting, cheek biting, tongue thrusting, and similar actions.

  1. What can cause parafunctional oral habits?

Stress, anxiety, malocclusion (poor bite), missing or crooked teeth, medications, and underlying health conditions can all cause parafunctional oral habits.

  1. What are the symptoms of parafunctional oral habits?

Symptoms of parafunctional oral habits include tooth wear, headaches, earaches, jaw pain, facial pain, neck pain, and broken, cracked or chipped teeth.

  1. How are parafunctional oral habits diagnosed?

Parafunctional oral habits can be diagnosed with a physical examination of the mouth, jaw and teeth, and a review of the patient’s medical history.

  1. What are the complications of parafunctional oral habits?

Complications of parafunctional oral habits can include temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), chronic pain, sleep disturbances, and difficulty chewing and speaking.

  1. Can parafunctional oral habits be treated?

Yes, treatment options for parafunctional oral habits include behavioural therapy, relaxation techniques, mouth guards or splints, orthodontic treatment, medication, and in severe cases, surgery.

  1. Are there any risk factors for parafunctional oral habits?

Risk factors for parafunctional oral habits include high levels of stress, anxiety, depression, alcohol consumption, smoking, caffeine intake, and certain medications.

  1. How can parafunctional oral habits be prevented?

Prevention measures for parafunctional oral habits include stress management techniques, avoiding stimulating substances like caffeine and nicotine, wearing a mouth guard during sports or as directed by your dentist, correcting malocclusion with orthodontic treatment, and maintaining good oral hygiene.

  1. Can parafunctional oral habits cause tooth loss?

Parafunctional oral habits can lead to tooth loss if left untreated for an extended period of time. Continuous pressure on the teeth and jaw can cause damage to the supporting structures of the teeth.

  1. Is there a connection between parafunctional oral habits and sleep apnea?

Yes, grinding and clenching are connected with sleep apnea as they can narrow the airway, leading to snoring and eventually sleep apnea. Treatment of parafunctional oral habits can also help alleviate symptoms of sleep apnea.

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