Bruxism (from the Greek βρυγμüς (brygmós) “gnashing of teeth”) is the grinding of teeth and clenching of the jaw that causes tooth wear, breakages, temporomandibular joint disorders (pain and limited movement of the jaw joint), migraines and headaches. Bruxism is a very common issue that effects up to 80% of the population at some point during their lives and is most common in adults over 25 years old however children can also be affected. Most people grind and/or clench their teeth occasionally; the symptoms usually increase during stressful periods.
Your teeth should last you a lifetime and not wear down however bruxism is a destructive condition. Normal chewing and eating does not cause wear or damage to your teeth. If you suffer from bruxism you are putting your teeth and gums under massive amounts of pressure. During sleep there is no feedback mechanism to tell your brain that your teeth are hurting because of too much pressure, hence we can put up to 40 times the amount of pressure on our teeth whilst we sleep, it is no surprise to see damage such as wearing down of the front teeth and the molar cusps can be chipped and damaged. Clenching also tenses the jaw muscles and creates impact within the skull. This may cause pain and headaches.
There are many ways to manage bruxism, the most common treatment is with bruxist splints (night guards). There are many other therapies and treatments available but these are generally seen as less effective. It is becoming more popular for dentists to recommend a more holistic treatment plan, this may include combined treatments with muscle-relaxing injections ,physiotherapists, chiropractors and sometimes hypnotherapists.
Bruxist splints are generally designed to act as a mechanical separation of the teeth. Other dental treatments may also be considered such as equilibration (grinding away tooth surface to make the teeth fit together better), orthodontics or crowns and veneers.
SCi – Sleep Clench Inhibitor (previously known as NTI-tss) The SCi is the most clinically effective FDA approved treatment for TMD (temporomandibular dysduction) , bruxism, and medically diagnosed migraines.