12 Sep What is bruxism?
Bruxism is an involuntary spasmodic teeth grinding or clenching.
During rest, a tiny gap remains between the teeth, the lips are closed and the chewing muscles relaxed – the teeth occlude only when chewing and swallowing. There are two types of bruxism: awake bruxism (excessive clenching of teeth in a stressful situation) and sleep bruxism (teeth grinding).
Why do people grind teeth?
Usually teeth grinding occurs due to stress, anxiety or emotional trauma. Sleep apnea, irregular occlusion, teeth loss, alcohol and tobacco consumption, poor quality dental restorations, etc. are among other potential factors.
How can I find out if I grind my teeth?
As teeth grinding usually occurs at night, many do not even suspect having this disorder. Commonly such information comes from their bed partners or dentists who notice bruxism-related changes in hard and soft tissues of the mouth: teeth marks on the tongue and cheeks, worn occlusal surface of molars, V-shaped tooth cervical lesions, tooth wear, hypertrophic chewing muscles, and a popping sound in the temporomandibular joint of the lower jaw. Such people do not feel having had enough rest after a night sleep, as well as they lack energy and have a headache.
How can I protect myself from bruxism?
To start with, the cause of bruxism has to be identified.
If the cause is low quality dental prostheses or fillings, you may need a prosthetic treatment or to have fillings adjusted or replaced. If the causes are psychological, try to reduce stress, refrain from alcohol, tobacco and caffeine, have enough sleep, exercise and engage in your favourite activities. The assistance of medical practitioners in other fields may also be required.
Special plastic mouth guards are manufactured for the treatment of sleep bruxism. They prevent teeth contact and protect them from pathological wear. The mouth guards are made in such a way as to replicate the natural teeth, which makes them well tolerated and easy to fall asleep with.