Bruxism: grinding and clenching teeth

1. What is bruxism?

Bruxism corresponds to a large and uncontrolled increase in contact between the teeth with no functional aim (chewing or swallowing).

It is characterized by

  • untimely grinding of the bottom teeth against those of the top, and / or

  • the continuous tightening of the jaws, that is to say the contracting of the manducatory muscles outside the action of chewing required during meals for example (parafunctional activity).

Bruxism most often occurs during sleep but it can also occur during the day


2. How to recognize bruxism?

The clinical signs induced by bruxism are variable depending on the duration and intensity of the forces exerted:

  • accelerated wear of the enamel up to the dentin and pulp

  • when the wear reaches the dental nerve, dental hypersensitivity linked to temperature changes (hot / cold) and acidic foods

  • tooth pieces fracture

  • temporomandibular joint crunches

  • diffuse dental and / or muscle pain, facial and / or in the jaws, cheeks, temples

  • neck pain

  • headache


3. What are the causes of bruxism?

Bruxism is often due to

  • an abnormal occlusion: when the mouth is closed, the positioning of the upper and lower teeth is not correct.

  • psychological anxiety / suffering

  • to stress.


4. How to prevent and treat bruxism?

The dentist can only act on the consequences of bruxism and this depending on the cause of the disorder.

In all cases, the dentist will take an impression of the upper and lower jaws, and then prepare a resin gutter. The latter protects the teeth from uncontrolled activities of squeaking and clenching.

In the case of an abnormal occlusion, other complementary treatments can be implemented:

  • selective grinding,

  • prosthesis,

  • orthodontic treatment.

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