The compulsive and involuntary act of clenching and/or grinding the teeth is known as bruxism. There are many theories that have tried to explain why it occurs but no consensus has been reached. What is clear is that the way we bite (occlusion), stress and anxiety can be triggers for bruxing episodes or increase their intensity, as seen by the expert dentists in occlusion and bruxism in the Murcia Region.
Approximately 78% of the population, including adults, adolescents and children, have had some episode of bruxism during their lives, so this is not an unimportant problem, as it is a harmful habit for the musculature, the teeth and the supporting structures of the teeth (periodontium) which, moreover, in many cases goes completely unnoticed.
It can be classified into diurnal and nocturnal, with daytime clenching being more common and nocturnal clenching and grinding being the combination of clenching and grinding. As nocturnal clenching occurs unconsciously, it is the one that produces the most symptoms, as neither the teeth, muscles nor the temporomandibular joint (known anatomically as TMJ and commonly known as the jaw joint) are prepared to receive the type of movement that is made when grinding, nor the force with which it is made.
The most common and visible manifestation for the bruxist patient is tooth wear, causing tooth sensitivity, cracks or even fractures of the teeth, as well as the deterioration and even loosening of fillings. It is also common for the gums to recede and the necks of the teeth to wear down.
As there is an excessive movement of the masticatory muscles when they should really be at rest, headache, jaw pain, earache, neck problems, the sensation of not having slept well when waking up and in very acute cases the impossibility of opening the mouth accompanied by severe pain.
To avoid all of this, since bruxism is impossible to eliminate, the dentist will prescribe an occlusal splint, which is a resin appliance made to measure for each patient that is placed between the teeth. It will be adjusted in such a way that it will improve the position of the jaw, preventing and/or alleviating the symptoms described above. It is also essential to protect veneers, crowns and bridges after dental rehabilitation.