Bruxism? Discover here why and how to fight against it
An unconscious Act that causes damage to the teeth, temporomandibular joint disorders and headache.
Bruxism, nowadays, is a condition present in more than the 70% of the Spanish population. Commonly known as “gnashing teeth”, it consist in the constant contact between the upper and lower dental pieces, clenching and sliding against each other. It is an unconscious act, so that, the patient doesn’t really know it until the doctor or someone else says it. Sometimes, this condition causes important damages in the bone that holds the teeth and it can provoke problems in the temporomandibular joint.
The main cause of this problem is stress, nowadays; citizens are the most affected by this condition. It is proven that they are the people with the highest life path, so their tendency to suffer from bruxism is bigger. However, there are other agents that contribute to the development of this issue, among them a bad dental alignment (another problem extended all over the world), bad sleeping routines, body posture or even the type of alimentation, can be a risk factor.
It is important to mention that some sports require an excess of effort or concentration, so it can lead in bruxism, causing in many occasions, injuries or lower performance. The main symptoms of this condition are a concentrated pain in the facial and neck muscles plus headache.
In severe cases where the problem is not treated, it can provoke pain straight in the teeth, make them increase their mobility or even the can get pulverized due to the friction. To identify the affection, the patient has to pay attention to those symptoms and visit the dentist, although a lot of the affected people don’t really discover it until the doctor says it.
For this reason, it is necessary to visit a specialist, to avoid illnesses to damage the enamel or modify the dental structure. Nowadays, there is no definitive solution. The solutions offered are orientated to decrease pain, the prevention of the wearing of dental pieces and avoid the damage in the jaw.
Dentists use in almost all the cases “dental dams” also known as “occlusal splints”, acrylic orthodontics that can be places in the upper and lower teeth. They are removable and normally their use is recommended at night. The dentist studies the clinic history of the patient, makes a deep exploration and after all the diagnosis of the case, so that, he can recommend the most appropriate splint to treat it.
There are several types of splints:
- Permissive splints: those that permit the freedom of the movement. Their main objective is to drive the condyles, responsible of the jaw joint play, to a more central position of the muscles relative to the bones. There are soft splint, vertical dimension, neuromiorelaxing, mio-relaxant or Michigan, depending in the grade of strength the patient makes
- Guidelines splints: they are recommended when the meniscus is sprained or advanced, to correct also the bite.
The process is done in three visits. During the first one, they study and take the impression, and after them the specialist will choose the splint that the patient has to wear, depending on his needs. At the second visit the placement and adjustment is done same as the maintenance plan to treat the problem. At last, in a third visit, a regular revision to check that the plan works correctly and the splint is the most accurate.
It is important to highlight that nowadays there are just a few professionals specialized in conditions of the ATM (temporomandibular joint), so it is important to put yourself in good specialist hands. So if you suspect that you can have this condition, try to control the stress that is causing it, set a good sleeping routine where you can respect the recommended eight hours and try to keep a healthy and balanced eating plan, avoiding hard food that can damage the natural structure of the mouth. Visit your dentist and start a treatment before it get worse. Your smile will thank you!