fillings, crowns and psychological problems
Teeth grinding in the night: That really helps against it
Almost everyone knows the phenomenon of teeth grinding. The whole body can suffer from it. But what are the real causes? And how do you get rid of the problem?
A lot of people don’t realize they’re grinding their teeth. Especially at night, pressing and grinding usually happens unconsciously. Bruximus is what doctors call this constant grinding of teeth. According to the German Dental Association, every second person grits their teeth every now and then. For about 10 percent of the population it is even a permanent problem.
This damage is caused by teeth buckling at
“Since it often occurs during sleep, it often goes unnoticed for a long time,” explains Kassel dentist Dr. Armin Rennert. The pressure created by this feat of strength is enormously high. It corresponds to about six to ten times the normal bite force, which does not remain without consequences for the body.
Especially the teeth are attacked. The following damages are typical:
- heavily abraded incisors
- sensitive teeth
- exposed tooth necks
- the extreme pressure also attacks the enamel, cracks can form
- Teeth that splinter
The dentist can also clearly feel signs when he palpates the temporomandibular joints and facial muscles.
Teeth grinding does not only harm the teeth
But even if there is still no visible damage to the teeth, there are various symptoms that can indicate bruximus in many people. Our expert Dr. Rennert lists these symptoms as examples:
- headaches and neck pain
- cracking jaw
- Pain in chewing muscles and jaw joint
- the feeling of not waking up rested in the morning
- reduced performance
So it’s not just the teeth that suffer: In many cases, the jaw also suffers from constant pressing and grinding. Joints and muscles are disturbed in their function. This can lead to craniomandibular dysfunction (CMD). This is not harmless. This can lead to headaches, tension, dizziness or tinnitus. “Ultimately, this can affect the entire spine,” says Rennert.
Teeth grinding: The physical causes
Teeth grinding can have anatomical and psychological causes, often it is a combination of both. “Reasons can be badly fitted fillings and crowns, sunk dentures, missing teeth or misalignments of the jaw joints,” says Rennert. If, for example, fillings or crowns are too high or worn out, this leads to interfering contacts between the teeth. These are disturbances in the bite together of the rows of teeth, which lead to increased muscle activity and thus to grinding.
Periodontitis, a disease of the tooth bed, can also be a cause. “The teeth become loose and shift. At night, the affected person unconsciously tries to get rid of these imperfections,” explains Rennert. Another possibility: wisdom teeth that push the other teeth forward and thus shift the teeth.
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Orthopaedic problems such as incorrect posture of the cervical spine can also be the cause. “They lead to increased muscular activity during the day, which leads to excessive muscle tension at night, so that the affected persons press and grind their teeth,” says the dentist.
Teeth grinding: The psychological causes
Psychological stress also ensures that people bite their teeth together and, in extreme cases, grind them at night. The most frequent psychological cause is professional and private stress.
Various studies have shown that bruximus patients cannot make proper use of relaxation phases. Grinding is their way of coping with stress. In addition to splint therapy, relaxation techniques can also help. The dentist Dr. Armin Rennert advises autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation. But it can also be helpful to do some recreational sports or yoga.
If the psychological stress is more complex in the end, it makes sense to consult a psychotherapist or psychologist. “Because the dentist cannot eliminate the mental ailments that can lead to Bruximus,” says Rennert.
Splint protects against teeth grinding and relieves strain
The therapy depends on the causes. The treatment starts with individually adapted occlusal splints. “An immediate measure to protect teeth and jaw joints,” says Rennert. But they also serve to reduce grinding by relieving tooth, muscle and joint functions, releasing subconscious automatisms and leading to new movement patterns. Depending on the severity of the bruxism, there are different splints that are sometimes worn during the day.
However, it is also necessary to remedy the causes. This means correcting the occlusion, for example by adjusting fillings, crowns or prostheses. In addition, speech therapy or physiotherapy can also be used. “You have to see people as a whole,” says Rennert.