Bruxism (teeth grinding)
Most people gnash or grind their teeth at times.
This periodic grinding or bruxism as it is medically called does not cause damage but when it occurs regularly it can cause damage to the teeth and worsen oral health.
Bruxism usually occurs at night during sleep and its causes are:
- Anxiety and stress
- Loss of part or all of the tooth
- Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea
Precisely because bruxism occurs during sleep, many patients do not know that their teeth are grinding.
Some people are informed by their relatives who hear them gnashing their teeth in their sleep, while a symptom they usually have is headache when waking up in the morning and pain in the mouth joint.
Even at the regular dental check-up, the dentist can notice signs of bruxism, such as intense abrasions of the teeth and inform the patient. In most cases of bruxism no treatment is required.
However, when the bruxism is intense and occurs for a long time, the symptoms become acute and problems can occur in the teeth (crack, fracture, mobility, loss) and in the jaws (temporomandibular joint disorders).
Treatments that can be suggested by the dentist concern
Protecting the teeth and not treating bruxism:
Soft or hard occlusal splints
Correcting the shape of the teeth or changing their position with orthodontic treatment
Oral and mandibular exercises
Regardless of the treatment, the patients themselves can change their daily habits in order to reduce bruxism:
- Avoid foods and drinks that contain caffeine
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid chewing on pencils or any other hard objects
- Position the tip of the tongue between the teeth to relax the jaw muscles
- Apply warm pads at night over the ear
Dr. Penny Mitilineou
Specialization in Orthodontics