By bruxism, we refer to teeth clenching, which may occur both during the day and / or night.
It is an over functioning, in other words a subconscious mode, in which all the stomatognathic system is in constant contraction.
Normally, the muscles that constitute the oral cavity should not allow the upper jaw to be in contact with the bottom, except in the case of chewing. All other hours of the day must our mouths be in “rest position”, in other words not touch the upper teeth with the bottom!
The frequency of individuals that clench their teeth ranges from 20-75%, and shows a clear preference for women.
The majority of patients do not understand that are suffering from bruxism even when their teeth show an intense wear.
If people clenching their teeth not accompanied by intensefrictions of teeth, not only are unaware that they tighten their teeth, but it is difficult to convince them that they doing it, given that all this function is unintentionally.
The dentist can understand most of the time when a patient is clinching his/hers teeth after a full clinical examination either from an accidental fracture of the fillings, dental prostheses, or by other following symptoms such as tiredness of the facial muscles, headaches, pain and difficulty chewing or even during the speech, pain and noisiness in temporomandibular joints, imprints on the sides of the tongue, etc.
Often the patient’s companion may hear the grinding of teeth during the night so in these cases the patient is persuaded easier.
The exact mechanism of bruxism is not fully understood and its pathogenesis.
Several parameters are implicated, such as poor occlusion, genetic or pathophysiological factors, and some neurological or psychiatric diseases. What is certain is that it is directly related to stress and it seems clearly that stress is a major aggravating factor. The treatment of bruxism is not very specific, especially in regard to bruxism during the day, because it is a habit that the patientmust realize and try to mitigate it.
The treatment consists in informing the patient, to indicate relaxation exercises and the use of splint during sleep.