Bruxism is the grinding and clenching of the teeth. It a common issue that is thought to affect over 80% of the population, to some degree. Left untreated, it can cause numerous effects for the sufferer, including: headaches & migraines, stiff neck and jaw, earache, poor sleep quality, tooth wear, broken teeth, pain and limited movement of the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint disorder- TMD).
It is most common in adults over 25 years old and the cause is not fully understood, though symptoms often worsen during stressful periods.
Apart from the damage to the teeth, there is nothing about the symptoms above that would suggest that the clenching or grinding is the cause. Many sufferers are unaware of the true reason for their symptoms and end up seeking ineffective treatments from their GP instead.
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 while we sleep – it is no surprise to see a lot of damage.
The most common sign of bruxism is shortened front teeth (incisal wear). However, in more severe cases, we see signs of cracks in enamel, abfractions (enamel loss at gum level), gum recession, bone overgrowths (bony exostosis), broken cusps of molar teeth, and damage to restorations (crowns & bridges).
If you do feel you are clenching or grinding your teeth do mention this to your dentist. The dentist will examine your teeth for signs of bruxism and examine the jaw joint and muscles. There are plenty of treatments available for those suffering with bruxism, the most common of which is the occlusal splint.
Occlusal splints are designed to mechanically separate the teeth thereby preventing contact and inhibiting the ability to clench or grind. Occlusal splints vary is design from a soft mouthguard to a hard mouth guard to a SCi (Sleep Clench inhibitor) splint.
The SCi splint is the most clinically effective FDA-approved treatment for TMD, bruxism, and medically diagnosed migraines. Made of a durable plastic, the SCi is designed to sit over your lower two front teeth, acting as a barrier to contact between the upper and lower teeth. The SCi works by eliminating the contact between your back teeth and thereby reducing the contraction intensity of your muscles by 70%. They are custom-made to your specifications and can be fitted by your dentist during your appointment.
At Marsh Dental Care we are now pleased to offer SCi splints as Dr Dhillon is trained to supply SCi occlusal splints.
To find out more about SCi splints, please book a consultation today.