What is bruxism?
This is a disease of neurogenic background. Bruxism means an unconscious clenching and friction of jaw teeth against the upper teeth as well as teeth grinding. Most frequently it happens during the sleep but also during the day. Persons suffering from bruxism impose even few times stronger pressure on chewing surfaces than healthy patients during normal chewing or biting processes. Usually, persons with bruxism are not aware that they grind the teeth every night.
How to recognise bruxism?
Often the problem of bruxism is signalled by partners of patients. Person suffering from bruxism grinds the teeth at night or makes sounds of teeth tapping and this can be observed by their partners at night.
Patients suspected to suffer from this disease often feel pain around the ears or jaw’s angle. This pain becomes intensive during stress or tension. In addition, patient may experience mild teeth pain and in advanced cases, observe change in teeth appearance.
What are the symptoms of bruxism?
The most frequent signals of bruxism are the following:
Symptoms connected with mouth and temporomandibular joints:
- grinded teeth, cracked teeth,
- cracked enamel,
- sensitive gums,
- bleeding during oral hygiene,
- chewing problems,
- biting cheeks and tongue,
- jaw pain,
- abnormalities in saliva production,
- wedge-shaped defects – advancing lowering of gums,
- periodontal defects – lowering of teeth roots,
- limited jaw mobility,
- disrupted track by opening and closing of mouth,
- pain in the area of rumen and sinus muscles
Symptoms connected with the whole body:
- stronger headaches and aching eyeballs (similar to migraine pain),
- pain in shoulders,
- earaches and hearing disorders,
- hypertrophy of the jaw and sinus muscles (the so called “square face”),
- muscle contractions,
- limited head mobility.
What are the causes of bruxism?
Among the causes of the disease the most frequent are long-term stress and occlusion defects.
Other causes of bruxism:
- genetic predisposition,
- missing teeth,
- incorrect contacts on wrongly profiled teeth fillings,
- incorrect shaping of teeth crown, ridges or dentures surfaces,
- parasitic infections,
- anxiety disorders: phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorders or disorders from the former category of neurosis,
- habitual, long-term chewing of gum or one-sided chewing.
What type of patients usually suffer from this disease?
Bruxism concerns both children and adults. Statistics conducted by the dentists and orthodontists confirm that grinding teeth is a method of stress relief in case of over 60% of adults and ca. 30% of children.
Women suffer from this disease more frequently. It is usually a problem of persons aged 25-45.
Both in Poland and across the world the number of persons suffering from bruxism increases. This is caused by more stressful lifestyle.
What may happen is bruxism is underestimated?
If a person suffering from bruxism symptoms does not undertake any steps to treat the disease, it may result in chronic inflammations, degeneration of jaw and sinus joints, strong headaches, neckaches or spine pains, jaw and upper teeth loosening or complete or partial grinding of teeth crowns.
It is worth mentioning that grinding of teeth may cause sleep disorders in case of partners sleeping in the same bed.
What are the complications following bruxism?
- advanced grinding and cracking of teeth – possibly leading to irrevocable inflammation of dental pulp
- increased mobility of teeth and their loosening
- cavities in teeth, enamel crumbling
- advancement of periodontium disease connected with bones shrinkage
- biting of cheeks and tongue causing painful erosions
- pain in the area of sinus joints or jaw angle
- clicking and popping of jaw (not always) during wide mouth opening
- disrupted track by opening and closing of mouth
- limited jaw mobility
- one or two-sided hypertrophy of the face and possibly neck muscles – the so called “square face”,
- muscle contractions
- limited head mobility, pain in neck and shoulders
- tinnitus and earaches
- balance disorders
- chronic pain
How to treat bruxism?
It is worth mentioning that treatment of bruxism shall be conducted at many stages and in a multidisciplinary way. Any treatment should be preceded by consultation with the dentist. Then, it is probable that consultations with orthodontist, prosthetics specialist, neurologist, psychologist, psychotherapist and manual therapist will be needed.
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