Teeth clenching and teeth grinding are excessive and mostly involuntary jaw movements usually made during sleep. In recent years as a result of hardships and stress brought by the city life, teeth clenching and teeth grinding became more common in our society. Individuals with the habit of teeth clenching and teeth grinding are mostly unaware of their habits.
What Are The Symptoms Of Teeth Grinding? What Problems Do They Cause?
Individuals suffer tooth enamel loss on chewing surfaces of the teeth as a result of constant contact and friction between the teeth during teeth clenching and teeth grinding. These abrasions that form on the chewing surfaces of the teeth are especially visible on the frontal teeth.
The patients may experience excessive sensitivity against hot and cold due to the rapid progression of these abrasions.
Micro – cracks form to the sides of the incisors and protruding parts of the posterior teeth as a result of teeth grinding. These micro – cracks expand in time and may cause the teeth to get fractured at later stages.
If teeth clenching and teeth grinding are accompanied with gingival diseases and incorrect brushing, gum recession and notches on dental hard tissue may be experienced. As these notches that form on the teeth cause sensitivity and hypersensitivity, they also may cause the teeth to fracture.
If teeth grinding goes unchecked for years, permanent limited mouth opening may be experienced due to the resorption in the temporomandibular joints.
Teeth clenching and teeth grinding are usually experienced during sleep, and are involuntary movements. Due to continuous jaw activity during the night, individuals may experience fatigue after a night’s sleep, headaches, muscular pain in temples and cheeks.
Individuals may suffer locked joints, crackling sound and pain due to overloading the temporomandibular joints caused by teeth clenching and teeth grinding.
Treatment Of Teeth Grinding
The primary objective of teeth clenching and teeth grinding is to stop the abnormal jaw movements that inflict irreversible damage to the temporomandibular joints, protecting the temporomandibular joints, eliminating the pain if there’s any, and to keep the teeth from eroding. Therefore, silicon plaques – which are tailor – made to fit the patient’s mouth – are used for the patient to put on before sleep.
The plaque will keep the teeth from connecting with each other and will stop the abrasion, relaxing the temporomandibular joints and eliminating the pain. However in severe cases, other methods might be applied along with the night plaque. These include methods such as treatments to reduce the patient’s overall stress, muscle relaxers and sleep regulating drugs. In advanced stages of such teeth clenching and grinding, old or defective fillings and prostheses must be renewed, and the missing teeth – if there are any – must be treated with the suitable prosthesis applications in order to keep a balanced teeth connection and jaw movement.
Botox Treatment In Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding which is also called “bruxism” is most commonly caused by emotional stress. Therefore the best treatment is to eliminate the stress factor. However ensuring that may not always be possible. Therefore many alternative treatment methods were developed. The purpose of these treatments are to avoid any permanent damage to the teeth and the temporomandibular joints and stop the pain. The protective night plaques – which are seen as one of the treatment options – are applied between the lower and upper teeth to stop them from connecting. However protective plaques are only for lowering the damage this problem causes, rather than treating it. Therefore Botulinum Toxin (Botox) – which is used in various fields – is also being used to cure bruxism.
Botox which is applied in certain doses according to the severity and the condition of the disease reduces the strength of the muscles temporarily (4 – 6 months). Thus the patient cannot make involuntary clenching movements during his/her sleep. The patient’s jaw movements or chewing process does not change after this application, and the patient can resume his/her daily life.
The important thing is to establish which chewing muscle plays more role in the disease and to adjust the dosage correctly. Therefore such functional applications must be done by an expert or experts who are both adept at Botox applications and maxilla (jaw and its surrounding tissues). The Botox & filling applications against bruxism (teeth clenching & grinding) are being done routinely by Maxillofacial Surgery Specialist Dr. Erdem Kaya and Dentist Tülay Kaya at Kuşadası Private Lotus Oral and Dental Health Polyclinic.