Grinding and pressing
When the teeth just break
By Alexandra Grossmann
20.06.2019, 09:08 o’clock
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The pressure with which we grind our teeth at night during sleep can weigh up to 400 kilos. The consequences are severe.
Overview of the
About one in five people in Germany lives with bruxism: the jaw is pressed together and the teeth rub against each other. This happens unconsciously and mostly at night during sleep. In the long run, the teeth are severely damaged – and other parts of the body can also be affected.
Consequences of grinding for the teeth
In bruxism, the uppermost layer of the teeth is rubbed away. They become shorter, later there is no more fissure relief. The enamel that covers the teeth to protect them is one of the hardest substances in the body. When it is rubbed off, the so-called dentin is exposed: nerve processes are in it, so that the teeth become more and more sensitive the more someone grinds or presses. In the worst case, the jawbone can change, the teeth can loosen and even fall out. It is more common for teeth to break gradually and imperceptibly, seemingly without external cause.
Consequences of crunching for the body
The crunching and pressing happens with an incredible pressure – the jaw muscle is one of the strongest muscles in the body. Nightly bruxism causes the muscles in the face, especially the jaw, to harden. The neck, shoulders and back can also be affected.
The constant tension triggers headaches, tinnitus can develop, sometimes even the field of vision of the eyes is restricted. Last but not least, the affected person’s mouth is only opened further with pain and cracking, the jaw joint is damaged.
Causes of crunching
Usually stress and mental distress are the reasons why people grind their teeth at night. A high workload, anger in the relationship and tension in daily life can be controlled during the day – but at night the stress is evident and those affected often do not notice it.
In rare cases a malpositioned tooth or jaw is present. There may also be an uneven ratio of muscles and ligaments, for example if someone chews more on one side than on the other.
A splint against crunching
In order to protect the teeth from bruxism, the dentist has a splint made. It is made of light but hard plastic and is worn at night while sleeping. It covers the upper or lower row of teeth as desired.
A splint is ground: Each model is made individually for patients. (Source: wakila/Getty Images)
There are also splints that correct or better position the misalignment of the temporomandibular joint. Each splint should be checked every six months or so.
Tips for people who crunch
Various relaxation exercises help against the crunching. You can open your mouth several times a day and stretch your muscles. However, this does not eliminate the cause: Every teeth grinder or squeezer needs the possibility to switch off and let go in the long run.
Anyone suffering from acute pain of the muscles or jaw joint is usually prescribed physiotherapy. Stretching and loosening exercises are trained to release tension and relax the muscle.
If you want to find out whether you press or grind your teeth at night, you can have the condition of your teeth examined by a dentist. If you have headaches and a tense neck, you should also check whether the pain comes from grinding.
Important note: The information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognised doctors. The contents of t-online.de cannot and must not be used to independently make diagnoses or start treatments.
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