Bruxism may be manifested as:
- Grinding – over-clenching of teeth related to strong movements of jaws when the surfaces of lower teeth are rubbing to the surfaces of upper teeth at the time of contraction of mastication muscles and unpleasant sound remind of grating is heard.
- Clenching or strong bite of teeth.
Bruxism is spontaneous, unconscious behaviour that is manifested because of different reasons during daytime or at night, while sleeping, and the person may even not notice it.
Night bruxism usually turns into bigger problem as it is more difficult to control it.
Causes of bruxism
The causes of bruxism may be different. The most frequent ones are the following:
- stress, emotional tension;
- incorrect fillings, dental crowns of poor quality;
- endocrinal and nervous diseases, stress;
- diets, inadequate nutrition, lack of vitamins of group B, calcium and magnesium;
- incorrect posture;
- inability to relax, muscular tone;
- sleep disorders.
Symptoms of bruxism
The symptoms that may manifest bruxism are the following:
- Pain in jaws, ears or headache felt in the morning that passes later;
- Sensitivity of teeth to cold, heat, mastication pressure and other stimuli;
- Teeth imprints noticed on the tongue;
- Pain of maxillofacial muscles, especially in the morning;
- Grinding sound at night heard by surrounding people;
- Noticeable tension of muscles in oral and maxillofacial areas.
Consequences of bruxism
Bruxism may result in the following:
- faster attrition and wear of teeth’
- breaking and/or cracking teeth;
- broken dental prostheses;
- weakened gums;
- increased mobility of teeth;
- pressure on muscles, bones and other structures around the jaw,
- headache and ear pains;
- jaw’s pain, problems of temporomandibular joint.
Bruxism of different intensity is diagnosed for approx. 13-25 percent of healthy people. It is a pity that majority of the bruxism cases are identified and treated too late, when prosthesis, removal of teeth or implanting are already needed.
If you notice symptoms of bruxism and want to stop the process and avoid the consequences, refer to the dentist immediately.
Treatment of bruxism
In all the cases when bruxism is suspected, the appointment with the dentist should be made without delay. The purpose of bruxism treatment is to reduce pain, to avoid irreversible damage to the teeth and to reduce grinding as much as possible.
If bruxism is caused by malocclusion, the occlusion has to be corrected and the points of teeth that are too high have to be filed. If the case is more severe, the teeth need prosthesis and new biting surfaces are formed.
When clenching is diagnosed, the correct position of tongue, lips and teeth is needed. The lips have to be pursed, the teeth cannot be clenched, and the tongue has to be kept in high position, by the palate.
With regard to the situation, the dentist may decide to make a teeth protector that is used at night. It does not allow the teeth to touch each other while sleeping and it helps to preserve correct position of jaws and the mastication muscles are relaxed.
What you may do independently:
- to avoid hard food (nuts, candies, roasts, etc.);
- to reject chewing gum;
- to drink sufficient amount of water;
- to get enough sleep;
- if tension in the jaw muscles is felt, to try to relax them. The muscle stretching exercises may help. Turn relaxation of maxillofacial muscles into a daily habit;
- to massage facial, shoulder and neck muscles. It is important to draw attention to small and painful nodes that may cause headache and pain in facial area;
- to reduce daily stress. Various relaxation techniques may serve for this purpose (yoga, meditation, etc.).
For some people it is enough to learn to relax and to change daily schedule in order to reduce bruxism (grinding or clenching).
In any case, if bruxism is noticed or suspected, in order to avoid severe consequences in the future, it is meaningful to make an appointment with the dentist immediately. The professional and experienced doctors of Kaunas Implantology Centre will evaluate the dental condition and advise on the teeth’s protection. They will help to make a treatment plan, if necessary.
Other causes of rapid wear of teeth:
Abrasion – wear of teeth because of contact with other substances
Such injuries may be caused by such bad habits as chewing of pen or pencil, nail biting and biting-off of threads. However, the hard toothbrush and brushing of teeth using incorrect movements often serve as the main reason of such problems.
Erosion –destruction of tooth enamel caused by acids
Enamel is a protective wall of the tooth that protects sensitive dentine underneath. When enamel is wearing out, the tooth may become sensitive or painful. The acids come to the mouth from the stomach together with food and medicaments. However, usually erosion is caused by gastric acid that gets into the mouth passively (gastroesophageal reflux) or actively (while vomiting).
Suitable dental prophylaxis may help to notice wear of teeth on time and to avoid irreversible consequences. In order to preserve healthy teeth and nice smile, it is recommended to visit the dentist once-twice a year and to have professional oral hygiene performed for your teeth.