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Bruxism includes clenching and grinding. These parafunctional activities during the day and night can cause tremendous destruction and wear of tooth and joint and muscle components. The cause of bruxism is multi-factorial and might include emotional factors as well as structural factors and the alignment of the teeth with the muscles and jaw joints (TM or Temporo-mandibular joints) is an important consideration in the treatment of bruxism. Signs of tooth wear should be diagnosed as soon as possible and the patient should be made aware of the consequences thereof as early as possible. Many full occlusal reconstructions are indicated as a direct result of the devastating result of bruxism. Clenching and grinding leads to the flattening of the protective contours of the front teeth up to a point where the back teeth make contact in forward and sideward movements. The result of such pathological redistribution of forces on the teeth and associated jaw joints and jaw muscles leads to stress and wear on all these interrelated components with gradual breakdown as a result. Clenching and grinding leads to extremely high forces on teeth, TM joints and jaw muscles. Treatment of bruxism firstly should include a thorough examination to determine the cause of the clenching and grinding. Treatment should include proper alignment of teeth with the TM joints and jaw muscles with occlusal adjustments, partial or full occlusal reconstructions and bite plates or occlusal appliances. In severe cases Botox® injected into the jaw muscles might be utilised to lower the muscle force on the teeth and joints and might aid in breaking a bruxism habit.

Dr Stéfan Bester

Graduated from the Dental School at the University of Pretoria with (B Ch D) Pret. He completed his masters degree in 1992. Started his own practice in Randpark Ridge, Randburg, during 1993. He is a member of the South African Dental Association (SADA), the Health Professionals Council of South Africa, the Academy of Prosthodontics of South Africa (APSA) and the International Team for Implantology (ITI).


Tel: 011 792 2723/4
Fax: 086 672 1980
Address: 98 Kayburne Ave, Randpark Ridge, Randburg, 2169
Postal Address: P.O Box 1746, Randpark Ridge, Randburg, 2156