A fairly common problem faced by an increasingly larger part of the population, mainly due to increased stress levels, is that of roaring.
Roar is the abnormal clenching or grinding of the teeth during sleep and also during the day sometimes. As a dysfunctional habit, it occurs unconsciously, i.e. involuntarily, and is often associated with sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea.
The most common general symptoms of roaring are headaches, pain in the temporomandibular joint area, muscle aches in the face and/or neck area, difficulty in fully opening the mouth and interruption of sleep.
It is estimated that patients with a roar are 3 times more likely to suffer from frequent headaches.
The symptoms of teeth grinding are particularly prominent and may be the point at which the condition is diagnosed. In particular, abnormal dental wear in the form of abrasion on the incisal and chewing surfaces of the teeth is observed.
Many times cracks or even microfractures are created, while excessive clenching of the teeth can also lead to receding and inflamed gums.
But where does this damaging habit of clenching the teeth and jaws come from?
It seems that the roar is a symptom that is mainly related to stress levels, lifestyle and sleep disorders. Smoking, caffeine (more than 6 cups), excessive alcohol consumption on the one hand and snoring, sleep apnoea and depression on the other are risk factors.
Roaring can also affect children, and is very common in people who abuse substances or drugs.
The relationship between roaring and stress and sleep disorders seems to be bidirectional as the nature of the roar feeds a vicious cycle of morbid manifestations.
How is the roar treated?
There have been various opinions - theories on how to treat the roar and its pathological manifestations and consequences.
Muscle relaxant medication combined with management of stress levels is appropriate in many cases.
Proven, it can also help in the construction of a personalized oral occlusion splint. After checking the patient's teeth occlusion, the dentist can make a special transparent mouthpiece that covers all the teeth of the upper jaw.
This splint is worn during sleep and apart from protecting the teeth from grinding, it also stabilizes the mouth closure and relaxes the muscles and temporomandibular joints.
If the roar coexists with another sleep disorder, they should be treated together and the patient should be referred to specialized clinics.