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Clenching (bruxism)

Clenching (bruxism) is a very common habit. Approximately 96% of adults have encountered this problem. It is seen in 15% of children. Usually, this habit goes unnoticed by the person before the consequences appear.

There is no definite cause, but the increased emotional stress in almost everyone lately is one of the most common causes. Stress symptoms first appear in the oral tissues. Therefore, stress both causes bruxism and increases its effects.

Although it is seen more frequently in hasty and meticulous people; It is also seen in people where the jaws become incompatible with each other only due to deficiencies or crowding in their teeth. It can also be seen in the children of people with a family history of clenching.

Caffeinated beverages such as coffee, cola, alcohol and smoking impair sleep quality and pose a risk for teeth grinding.

It is possible to encounter teeth grinding as a side effect of some depression medications or as a symptom of allergic conditions.

The tissues affected in teeth grinding are not limited to the teeth. The connective tissues that connect the teeth to the jawbone, the jaw bones in the jaw, the jaw joint that connects the lower jawbone to the head, the muscles that hold the jaw joint and open and close the jaw and connect it to the head, the attachment areas of these muscles in the head and neck, and the nervous system that constantly transmits all these pains are affected. .

Damages that occur in the mouth include abrasions in the form of notches on the chewing surface of the teeth and the neck of the teeth at the gingival level, cracks in the tooth enamel and related tooth fractures, hypersensitivity in the teeth due to enamel cracks, retraction of the gums and swaying of the teeth, which usually occurs together with it. , bone spurs, irritation on the cheeks.

Generally, individuals are unaware that they are grinding their teeth. Although those who squeak during the day may notice this, it is usually the spouses, parents or siblings who sleep in the same room as witnesses to this event, which occurs during sleep. A person can realize that he has this problem only by experiencing the symptoms.

If one or more of the symptoms such as cheek and temple pains upon waking up in the morning due to tired jaw muscles as a result of excessive tightening of the jaw during the night, difficulty in opening the mouth, pain radiating to the ear, head and neck that can last all day while opening and closing the mouth, and clicking sounds when opening and closing the mouth, the tooth is present. squeaking should be suspected and a doctor should be consulted.

The treatment varies depending on the damage, but the main purpose is to prevent permanent damage to the teeth and jaw joint and to eliminate the pain.

“Night guards”, which are applied by the dentist and used between the lower and upper jaw teeth in order to prevent the contact of the teeth with each other during sleep, are the most important tools used in the symptomatic treatment of teeth grinding. However, night guards are mandatory but often not sufficient on their own.

For this reason, treatment should be applied to eliminate the cause of teeth grinding and reduce the symptoms that occur.

Treatment is more effective as a result of stress therapy and measures to provide comfortable sleep in psychologically caused teeth grinding, muscle relaxant drug supplements to reduce the damage in muscle pain and excessive grinding, renewing incorrectly made tooth fillings and veneers, and completing missing teeth with prostheses.

In addition, if the jaw joint is damaged, it becomes difficult to open the mouth and all these measures do not help, intra-articular washing and drug applications, and in more advanced cases, surgical intervention can be applied.