Why do some people grind their teeth while they sleep – what medical doctors call bruxism – and how to protect their teeth.
He who grits his teeth or presses them together, his bite is not right. For a long time dentists’ told patients who suffered from so-called bruxism. Not only did they recommend proven guard rails to them, they also cut or wrenched teeth in complex and painful procedures to change the position of the rows of teeth. Thus, the bite could be restored in its ideal form, the unwanted movements would disappear. At least that was the widespread theory.
But this has now been refuted by science. Deformation of the dentition almost certainly does not play a role in the development of bruxism. Today researchers are convinced that the central nervous system controls unnecessary biting – no matter how perfect the teeth are.
Jaw muscles tight
This knowledge doesn’t seem to have arrived at all dentists yet. Sometimes the teeth are still being tampered with to stop the teeth pressing. However, this is only justified if a “Bruxer”, as dentists call patients with crunching and pressing problems, has already badly damaged his teeth. Restoration of the dentition then makes the affected person look nicer, secures the dental substance and makes the teeth less sensitive to temperature – but the cause itself does not eliminate it.
Bruxismic patients not only damage their teeth but also often suffer from jaw and headaches. Sometimes it comes through the strong tension of the large jaw muscles also to pressure on the ears, tinnitus or neck pain. A feeling of dizziness can arise. Sometimes affected people can’t even associate these symptoms with their jaws. Then the dentist may recognize typical signs of bruxism at the check-up: chewed teeth, enlarged masticatory muscles, impressions of the teeth in the cheek and tongue.
In severe cases, the dentin already appears yellowish beneath the enamel. The teeth become extremely sensitive. It is also typical that you wake up in the morning and the jaw muscles are hardened and hurts.
Stress encourages teeth grinding
But not all chew at night, at least as common is the awake bruxism. Then the affected people press their teeth together during the day without noticing it.
For both forms: Stress and fears promote the problem. Under psychic stress you start to bite your teeth together. It is also clear that genes play a role. In addition, psychotropic drugs may be the cause. Coffee and nicotine are also detrimental.
Who bruxt during the day, has a good chance to improve with self-observation something. To do this, dentists recommend: For example, stick red dots on objects that you often look at – and always control the bite, if you see the mark. What do I do with my teeth? I just press? Or are the rows of teeth a few millimeters apart? That would be ideal.
Track as a disease manager
In sleep bruxism, a dental splint is the drug of choice. Not only does it protect the teeth, it also reduces the activity of the jaw muscles at night in 50 to 75 percent of patients. Accordingly, complaints such as pain in the jaw and head can also diminish.
But in a quarter, the pressing of the rail even increases, as studies show. In any case, the rail is not a therapy, but a tool for managing the problem. You can’t cure bruxism. Maybe the problem will eventually improve by itself. Typically, people between the ages of 20 and 40 suffer from it. With age, bruxism becomes rarer.
A simple crunching splint for the upper jaw is a cash payment without additional payment. It is sufficient in many cases. However, many dentists are convinced that a functional diagnosis of the jaw is necessary so that the splint fits well. This investigation does not pay the cashier. Patients should have their costs confirmed in advance. Usually a US$120 to US$250 additional payment is due.
-Biofeedback Procedure: Sensors at the temples or in a track register what the jaw muscles are doing. When a patient begins to bite, a pulse is sent. This is so small that the sleeper does not wake up, but the muscle gets calmer.
– Botox: In particularly severe cases of bruxism, the neurotoxin can be injected into the large jaw muscle. This makes the overactive muscle calmer and reduces mass.
– Also helpful: Physiotherapy, relaxation procedure and behavioral therapy. For a limited time, muscle relaxants can also be taken.
Apply the splint
In the meantime it has been shown that thicker splints reduce the pain better than thin ones. In the past, we only made the splints in the molar region one to two millimeters thick, and now more like four to five millimeters.
Who wants to use his rail as optimally as possible, they should carry with interruptions – so about five days and then make two days break. This reduces muscle activity better than lasting wear. Whoever sleeps with rail, squeezes sometime stronger again.
For the transitional period until the rail is made, there are now solutions, for example, a plastic ribbon with liquid pads, which is like a rail around the upper row of teeth. Some patients get along better with the temporary restoration than with the custom-made splint.