Causes of Bruxism
Some have suggested that grinding the teeth is simply a habitual repetition of the natural chewing process, but this is rarely the case. The root cause of Bruxism is usually a malformation of the "bite". By this we mean that the upper and lower teeth do not fit together as they should. This may be the result of the way the teeth grew during childhood and adolescence or it may result from accidental damage.
Because the jaw cannot find a comfortable "at rest" position the jaw muscles engage in a constant search for one. This is the source of the unconscious habit of grinding and clenching that can cause such very significant dental damage.
Symptoms of Bruxism
The symptoms of Bruxism include:
Whilst we may be able to notice that we are grinding our teeth whilst awake, this is not the case during sleep and this is when the worst damage can occur. Thus breaking the Bruxism habit is not something that can be done through will power.
Grinding teeth and Stress
Most of us will develop Bruxism during the course of our lives, but it is by no means always severe. The destructive habitual tooth grinding seems to worsen in response to stress and a highly pressured lifestyle. In Professor Szabo's Heviz clinic it is noticeable that patients from the US & UK are far more likely to suffer from Bruxism than those from counties where the pace of life is slower.
Clenching the teeth
During normal chewing we place around 68 psi on our teeth. During nocturnal clenching however that pressure can be as much as 1200 psi (The bite of a Lion has been measured at 1000 psi). Understandably this excessive pressure can cause untold damage.
The most obvious result of bruxism is worn and broken teeth, but this condition can also be the cause of other problems. The muscular pain resulting from nocturnal clenching of the jaw muscles is often misdiagnosed as migraine. The effect on these muscles can be so severe that the can jaw become semi-frozen so that the patient can barely open the mouth.
Remedy the Damage from Bruxism
The first and most important thing to realise is that if your teeth have been damaged through grinding them then a cosmetic treatment alone will only repair the damage for a short while. Your new crowns will be no more capable of standing up to the constant grinding than your natural teeth were. Professor Szabo has however successfully treated more than 500 Bruxism sufferers in the past few years.
The treatment for Bruxism is a two stage treatment. The first priority is to help your jaw muscles lose the habit of continually grinding the teeth. As we said above they do this in an attempt to find a comfortable "at rest" position and they are most active in this during sleep. We therefore provide you with a mouth guard you can wear at night. It is something like a boxer might wear and allows the upper and lower teeth to rest comfortably so that there is no stimulus for them to grind.
You will need to wear the night guard for several weeks and as the time progresses the habit of Bruxism will be lost. However, the night guard on its own is unlikely to be a permanent solution.
As described above, the most likely original cause of the Bruxism was a malformed bite. Without action to correct this, the destructive habit of grinding will be reacquired. In order for us to do this we need to model your "bite" and accurately identify where the seat of the problem may be. Once this is done we can propose a course of action.
This might be as straightforward as making some adjustments to your existing teeth or it may mean placing new crowns. Each case of bruxism is individual and so too will be each remedy.
Zirconium Crowns and Bruxism
Zirconium is an extremely strong mineral and in its "Prettau" form will not chip or break. Using Zirconium we can replace damaged teeth with confidence that the will not be damaged even should your bruxism persist.
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