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WHAT IS BRUXING/CLENCHING?

Bruxism or clenching is when we excessively grind our teeth which can lead to structural damage or pain. It is not a normal functional activity.

WHAT CAUSES BRUXING/CLENCHING?

It is not exactly known what causing bruxing but can possibly be contributed to a combination of physical, psychological and genetic factors. Some individual brux/clench more during the day and others (unwarily) can practice it during the night. 

Day time bruxing is normally due to emotional influences like stress, anxiety, tension and anger or when we concentrate(habit) compared to night-time bruxing which can be related to sleep arousal or sleep disturbances. Multiple other risk factors also exist, and a diagnosis is very difficult to make.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MANAGE IT?

Bruxing mostly doesn’t lead to serious problems but if done excessively it can cause:

  • Loss of tooth structure, chipped fillings and crowns
  • Joint pain and discomfort or other disorder where the joint starts to click or pop
  • Tension headaches which is brought on by the excessive muscle contraction associated with bruxing

HOW DO WE TREAT OR MANAGE IT?

It is not possible to cure the bruxing, but treatment is aimed at managing the bruxing and relieving the symptoms until the underlying cause can be resolved.​

Treatment options involve the following:

  • Physical therapy for the pain and to help with muscle stiffness
  • Biteplate/splint and short-term use of a muscle relaxant to put the jaw in a more relaxed position and prevent tooth damage
  • Treatment of sleep apnoea or/and stress (getting enough sleep and exercising)
  • Neurofeedback training to change the muscle memory
  • Botox to help relax the muscles and lesson contraction of the muscles
  • Correcting of skew teeth if it is causing the jaw misalignment (braces).
  • Avoiding substances with high caffeine, alcohol and chewing gum (which may exacerbate the grinding)

RECONSTRUCTION OF SEVERELY WORN-DOWN TEETH (BRUXING)

When bruxing is so severe, causing excessive tooth loss it can lead to functional and aesthetic problems.​

At Bergvliet dental our aim is to help restore your natural function and aesthetics by going through a thorough process of treatment protocols to make sure we restore the natural anatomy that was lost during the clenching process. This is done by collecting accurate data and compiling a treatment plan in combination with our labs. 

Treatment might include the use of crowns, overlays and composite fillings to re-establish optimal oral function in combination with a bite plate/splint to help manage future grinding and to protect your dental work. This can be combined with physical therapy and neurofeedback treatment to help manage the underlying causes. 

Regular follow ups are important as to make sure that your new teeth are protected and that you are functioning properly.