Bruxism can lead to excessive wear on the teeth and may cause permanent damage to the teeth and the jaw joints. Excessive clenching and grinding are not normal, healthy actions of the jaws. In some adults and children, clenching and grinding may occur during the day and at night. They typically have no conscious control over this excessive clenching and grinding, particularly when it occurs during sleep.
What causes bruxism?
Combinations of physical and psychological factors are believed to contribute to bruxism:
• Physical stress such as illness, nutritional deficiencies or dehydration, particularly in children.
• Psychological stress, anxiety and tension in adult and children
• Sleeping disorder.
The signs and symptoms of bruxism vary according to the nature, frequency, duration and strength of excessive clenching and grinding, include:
• Pain in the teeth and sensitivity to heat and cold.
• Chronic muscular facial pain with tension headaches.
• The noise, noticed by partners, friends or relatives, that occurs as the teeth are ground together.
• Flattened and worn tooth surfaces, which may reveal the underlying yellow or orange dentine layer.
• Micro fractures of the tooth enamel.
• Broken or chipped teeth.
• Stiffness and pain in the jaw joint that cause restricted opening and difficult chewing.
An occlusal splint may be recommended to protect upper and lower teeth. To increase comfort and effectiveness, its custom made to suit each person’s own teeth and bite.
The splint is made from moulded hard plastic that fits over the upper and lower teeth. It prevents further wear of the tooth surfaces.