Dr Stéfan Bester’s
Bruxism includes clenching and grinding of teeth. These parafunctional activities during the day and night can cause tremendous destruction and wear of tooth and joint and muscle components. Sleep bruxism is a sleep related movement disorder which may cause sleep disorders and might be associated with snoring and pauses in breathing, called sleep apnea.
The cause of bruxism is multi-factorial and might include emotional factors as well as structural factors. 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. Bruxism can cause signs and symptoms such as sleep disruption, increased tooth pain or sensitivity, pain that feels like an earache, and tired or tight jaw muscles.
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 forwarding 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 a 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 the 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 utilized to lower the muscle force on the teeth and joints and might aid in breaking a bruxism habit.