Bruxism / teeth grinding
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a so-called parafunctional habit. This is done by sliding the upper and lower teeth over each other; A grinding sound can be heard. In general, it happens when sleeping and/or unconsciously.
When the teeth are rubbed together abrasions on tooth surfaces (attrition) which removes the enamel and exposes the dentine, causing caries and dental sensitivity. Furthermore, the supportive tissues are affected (through the constant pressure) to an extent that the teeth can become loose and the temporomandibular joint is compromised (Costen syndrome or TMD).
A singular cause of TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder) is often difficult to identify. Most patients get symptoms due to a combination of factors associated with this painful syndrome, such as night time tooth grinding, wear and tear, osteoarthritis and stiffness of the jaw, but poorly fitted dentures and tight jaw muscles caused by stress can play a role.
TMD occurs mainly in women between the ages of 20 and 25 or 40 and 50 years. The dentist will investigates this diagnosis and asks what the symptoms are. Sometimes further investigation and treatment together with a specialised physiotherapist or surgeon is worth considering.
Other complaints due to bruxism include insomnia, headache, painful jaw joints and jaw muscles, toothache, fatigue and neck and shoulder discomfort. Causes of bruxism are defective dental contact (also known as premature contact or sometimes malocclusion), mental stress (nerves) and also use of drugs such as ecstasy and amphetamine.
DTreatments range from the grinding down of premature contacts, treating stress and wearing a bite plate or bite splint. In some cases this can later be converted into a composite plate. Or if you opt for a more permanent solution, we can place onlays or crowns.
A bite plate is a hoof-shaped resinous plate that is positioned on the upper teeth. The side facing the lower teeth is smooth and has contact with all the lower teeth, even when the lower jaw makes side to side movements.
All this leads to what is called ‘balanced occlusion’. This plate often gives the jaw joint necessary rest, and it is therefore a popular solution. Many people swear by these plates. They also ensures that your teeth no longer get worn away. You wear down the plate, but not your teeth.
It goes without saying that we also carry out these treatments, so please feel free to contact us.