What is the origin of bruxism?
Normally, contact between the teeth of the lower and upper arch is only made when we chew food or swallow our saliva.
If we take into account these different contact times over the course of a day, they will amount to about 20 minutes. Some people will clench their teeth for several hours during the day and night, half of them unconsciously.
This may be due to stress, but not only, as some people will grind their teeth unconsciously during the night.
This grinding/clenching of the teeth is called bruxism.
Who is affected by bruxism ?
People affected by bruxism are often stressed or anxious. Bruxism can be triggered by an emotional shock such as the loss of a job, bereavement or separation.
With our years of experience, we also notice that introverted people seem to be more prone to it, in this case it would be a way of unconsciously externalizing emotions.
Children are also affected by bruxism, but the causes are different. Bruxism in children can be linked to an inappropriate position of the jaw, which in some cases can cause ear infections and the only solution to relieve the pain is to apply pressure on the jaw.
However, in a child, it may be bruxism related to the manifestation of an anxiety or a repressed trauma in their personal life.
What are the consequences of bruxism ?
Bruxism causes abnormal and premature wear of the contact surfaces of your teeth. This forced contact between the teeth can lead to loosening and erosion of the roots. The resulting root becomes sensitive to cold and heat.
The pressure effect of bruxism can lead to cracks and even fractures of completely healthy teeth.
If left untreated, tooth enamel can completely disappear, as if it had been sawn off.
In the continuation of this scenario, the dentin disappears in turn, exposing the dental pulp (which contains the nerves) to numerous external aggressions.
The decrease in tooth height due to wear also leads to a disruption in the relationship between the upper and lower jaws. There are no longer any reference levels and therefore the lower jaw will slide forward, giving the impression that the chin is moving forward.
How do you know if you have bruxism ?
When you wake up, you feel pain or heaviness, as if you have been chewing gum for several hours.
Bruxism is often accompanied by a malfunction of the jaw joint or jaw muscles.
Your family or partner may also notice this phenomenon by complaining about the noise of your teeth grinding, especially at night.
If you look at the face of a patient with bruxism, you can see that some of the chewing muscles are enlarged and the face looks like a trapezium. A person with bruxism may experience pain in the neck, head and back.
What treatment for bruxism ?
There are various treatments to limit the damage caused by bruxism.
First of all, there is the wearing of an occlusal tray :
We can create an occlusal tray, which is like a resin denture, designed from the dental impressions of your teeth.
This mouthpiece is worn overnight and prevents contact between the upper and lower jaws in case of grinding, clenching or clicking.
Then there is dental balancing :
This technique consists of analysing the interlocking of the teeth and determining whether there are any defects in certain areas.
Our specialist will then sand/image the affected surfaces in order to stabilise the teeth.
The last possibility is to treat stress :
Your bruxism may be due to stress or anxiety and in this case, only you can choose the method that best suits you.
There are various methods available: meditation, yoga, relaxation, brief therapies and psychotherapy. There are also recommended meditation/breathing exercises to be practised before sleep in order to treat night-time bruxism.
You may also wish to consider osteopathic treatment to alleviate sources of tension converging on the jaw, or ask our specialist to refer you to a treatment based on homeopathy.