Bruxism is the conscious or unconscious act of clenching your teeth together. This destructive habit can prematurely wear the enamel from the tops of our teeth. Often, people who brux report that the muscles on the sides of their face will be painful, or locked in spasm.
People who brux can wear the cusps away from their back teeth, leaving hollowed shells of what were once tall, strong teeth. As this process continues, and the back teeth are worn down, the forces are transferred to the more delicate front teeth. We may one day notice that our front teeth have become very flat, this is the result of bruxism.
Treatment for this disease process involves, thorough and accurate diagnosis followed by the construction and refinement of a protective mouthguard. Such an appliance will be constructed of hard acrylic, and then adjusted methodically so that the appliance provides maximum relief to overworked muscles resulting in the maximum relief for the patient. Properly designed bruxism guards can alleviate much of the muscle fatigue that may exist, thereby allowing the patient to rest better and most importantly…preserve their tooth structure. Occasionally, other forms of treatment may be used in combination with a bruxism guard, including; equilibration (tooth adjustment), orthodontics, and reconstruction of severely affected teeth.
A properly designed and adjusted bruxism guard will generally last for a decade. This of course assumes the family dog doesn’t find the appliance and create the world’s most expensive chew toy!
If you have noticed that your enamel is being worn, have been told by your partner that you are “grinding your teeth” in your sleep, have muscle pain on the sides of your face when you awaken or during the day, please ask Dr. Prendergast or the staff about Brusixm.