BruxApp is an application for a smartphone dedicated to the management of several awake bruxism issues concerning its diagnosis, management, prevention, and scientific research.
It takes advantage of the wide diffusion of smartphones and their portability to monitor a phenomenon that is otherwise not so easy to evaluate.
Before describing BruxApp, it is useful to recall the most updated scientific bruxism definition:
” Bruxism is a repetitive jaw-muscle activity characterized by clenching or grinding of the teeth and/or by bracing or thrusting of the mandible. Bruxism has two distinct circadian manifestations: it can occur during sleep (indicated as sleep bruxism) or during wakefulness (indicated as awake bruxism)”
Provided by an International Expert Consensus and published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation in 2013.
The term bruxism groups together different conditions, including both teeth grinding and clenching as well as jaw clenching (or bracing). Those conditions may occur during wakefulness and/or sleep-time.
A common belief, still diffused among patients and even clinical practitioners, is that bruxism is a synonymous of grinding the teeth while asleep and its subsequent tooth wear. Thus, this definition has been important to broaden the horizon of bruxism physiopathology and also include conditions of possible isometric muscle contraction.
In particular, keeping the mandibles tightened with the jaw muscles in constant tension is an activity that is also part of the bruxism spectrum.
Such condition, termed mandible bracing or jaw clenching, is potentially even more detrimental than teeth grinding or clenching, since it may cause muscle fatigue and exacerbate loads on the mandible joints (i.e., the temporomandibular joints [TMJs]).
In short, based on the above concepts, BruxApp focuses on the assessment of 4 conditions:
TEETH CONTACT: this condition we define as the light touching of teeth with the mouth closed.
TEETH CLENCHING: all conditions in which teeth contacts are more marked than the above and jaw muscles are kept tense.
TEETH GRINDING: a condition in which the opposite teeth are gnashed or ground, independently by intensity and direction of antagonist teeth contacts.
JAW CLENCHING (without teeth contact): the condition of jaw muscle stiffness or tension similar to teeth clenching, but with teeth kept apart.
The condition of perceived relax of jaw muscles, with mandibles kept apart, is defined in the application as RELAXED JAW MUSCLES.
BruxApp has been planned to control and monitor data concerning the above conditions daily.
Also, BruxApp may help to re-educating patients: since likely, that most bruxism activities (especially as far as jaw clenching while awake is concerned) are related to emotional tension. It is important to make the patient aware of the fact that you cannot keep the mandible tightened for hour-long periods, day after day, without experiencing any discomfort in the jaw muscles or in the temporomandibular joints. Within this premise, BruxApp may act as a deprogrammer thanks to its awareness-generating function.
It allows reducing the possible negative consequences and trying to manage emotional tension another way, thus acting as prevention against bruxism-related damage.