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What is bruxism: how teeth grinding ruins our health
What is bruxism: how teeth grinding ruins our health

Headache and chronic fatigue can be signs of bruxism. This is the name of gnashing of teeth in a dream, caused by hypertonicity of the chewing muscles. Bruxism does not in the best way affect not only the condition of the oral cavity, but also the health of the body as a whole. Together with a specialist, we understand why it occurs, how it threatens and how it can be cured.

What is bruxism: how teeth grinding ruins our health Nana Gezalova

Nana Gezalova orthodontist, candidate of medical sciences, founder of professional dentistry "ProPrykus"

Causes of bruxism: why there is a gnashing of teeth at night

Most often, bruxism occurs due to an incorrect bite, the cause of which is the underdevelopment of the upper jaw. This feature appears when nasal breathing is difficult.

The position of the tongue, the strongest muscle in the body, also affects the bite. Normally, it is attached to the lower jaw and is located on the palate, and the tip is located behind the upper central incisors. In this position, the tongue presses on the palate and contributes to the correct development of the jaws.

If the upper jaw is underdeveloped, there is not enough space for the tongue - and it lies not on the palate, but below and occupies the entire oral cavity. Due to the incorrect position of the tongue, the lower jaw cannot grow. Over time, it moves back.

A person develops a malocclusion, in which the upper teeth protrude forward and do not touch the lower ones. This condition leads to health problems for the entire body.

Due to the incorrect position of the jaws and tongue, hypertonicity develops, or increased activity of the masticatory muscles. Their intense work becomes the cause of the night grinding, during which the teeth rub against each other.

There is another theory, the proponents of which believe that the cause of bruxism is stress and anxiety. But today, doctors believe that neurology cannot be the impetus for the development of the disease. Stress can worsen the patient's condition, but malocclusion remains the main cause of teeth grinding at night.

Signs of bruxism

Teeth grinding is a key symptom of bruxism, but not the only symptom. There are other signs by which the disease can be recognized.

Gnashing of teeth

It is difficult for the patient to notice the signs of bruxism himself. Relatives and friends can indicate the disease if they hear teeth grinding during sleep. But sometimes the symptoms are hardly noticeable.

Face reshaping

The active work of the chewing muscles changes the appearance of the face. It becomes square, the corners of the lower jaw protrude, the cheekbones develop. But these changes are difficult to track because they are slow. Wide cheekbones are often attributed to genetics or structural features of the bone.


Another sign of bruxism is headache in the temples. It is associated with the temporomandibular joint. The joint includes the articular head (part of the lower jaw) and the glenoid fossa (part of the skull). Between them is cartilage, which provides mobility.

With an incorrect bite, the articular head changes shape in order to prevent dysfunction of the joint. The lower jaw, when displaced, clamps the area where the nerve endings are concentrated. This is what causes headaches. Since patients rarely go to the dentist with such a symptom, neither doctors nor patients can understand what the painful sensations are associated with. They are credited with overwork, stress, and a sedentary lifestyle.

People continue to take painkillers, look for the cause of pain in diseases of the brain or blood vessels.But the problem can be solved only by an orthodontist, who is engaged in correcting the position of teeth and occlusion.

Diagnosis of bruxism

When bruxism does not manifest itself in any way, only an orthodontist can diagnose the disease. When examining a patient, he will immediately find thin edges of the teeth, chips of enamel, worn bumps. To check the activity of the masticatory muscles, a myography can be done. During the analysis, the device registers muscle contractions and gives the result in the form of a graph. On its basis, the doctor draws conclusions, makes a diagnosis. The decryption is then transmitted to the patient.

The study will show unbalanced muscle work, even if there is no night rattle. The fact is that external symptoms may disappear, but the problem and the cause of the disease remain and are ready to make themselves felt at any time. The impetus for this is often stress, diseases of the internal organs.

Should bruxism be treated in children?

In childhood, bruxism is normal, because the child's bite is still forming. When milk teeth are replaced with permanent ones, the tubercles are erased, which normally help to keep the teeth in a certain position.

This is how the body prepares itself for a change in bite. At this time, the chewing muscles work more hard, so at night parents can hear a characteristic grinding and notice active compression of the jaws in babies. Do not be afraid of this.

Children's bruxism does not require treatment. Usually, the disease goes away by itself after the formation of the bite. But there are situations when bruxism is aggravated by stress, frequent anxiety. If the child calms down, the night screeching disappears on its own.

How is bruxism in adults treated?

Bruxism cannot be called a dangerous disease, but it affects the health of the entire body. An incorrect bite causes problems with the temporomandibular joint, headaches, fatigue, and increased tooth wear. The latter affects the state of the digestive system, and therefore the health of the whole body. In order to prevent illness, you should correct the bite in a timely manner and take the time to visit the dentist.

Interestingly, most of the patients with bruxism are referred to neurologists. But a doctor of this specialization can only provide indirect help when the grinding is intensified by stress. In this case, a sedative is prescribed to the patient, which relieves nervousness. Symptoms gradually disappear and cease to bother. But neurological drugs cannot cure the disease.

The only one who can truly help is an orthodontist. After correcting the bite and correcting the position of the mandibular joint, bruxism disappears.

In addition to treatment with an orthodontist, teeth restoration will also be required. For this purpose, the patient is installed crowns, inlays, implants, fillings made of polymer materials. When the bumps wear out and the muscles lose stable support, it is difficult for them to fix the jaws in the correct position. After restoration of the shape of the teeth, this problem goes away.

In order to prevent the appearance of bruxism in an adult, it is necessary to engage in bite correction in childhood. This will help avoid temporomandibular joint problems. In children, this procedure is faster and requires less effort. In adults, if the bite is already formed incorrectly, therapy becomes more difficult, and it is much more difficult to obtain the desired result.

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