Teeth Grinding So get rid of the annoying crunching
"A trivialization of teeth grinding would be wrong," says Peter Minder, dentist from Osterode. "The teeth are shorter, there is no fissure relief more, the top layer is permanently rubbed away," explains Thomas Wolf from the Federal Board of the Free Association of German Dentists. About eight percent of German adults crunch, according to dental experts at night with their teeth. Only from the age of 65 years take the problem off again, from the elders should crunch only three percent. When teeth grinding, also called bruxism, enamel, Kiefermuskeln- and joints are sometimes severely damaged. In addition, other muscle groups can be damaged in addition to the masticatory muscles, which are strained to stabilize the head. A distinction is made between day and night active crunching. The dental director of the Department of Psychosomatics in Dentistry at the University Polyclinic in Münster, Dr. med. Anne Wolowski explained: "In sleep-bruxism those affected tend to crunch, while in waxbruxism they usually clench their teeth.".What really helps against teeth grinding. Image: Brigitte Meckle-fotolia
Serious health consequences
The health consequences can be serious. This can lead, among other things, to severe pain syndromes and tinnitus. Dizziness, blurred vision and nausea often occur. In addition, sufferers often suffer from back pain, neck pain, headache, shoulder pain and pain in the pelvic muscles. Furthermore, the teeth grinding sometimes leads to sleep problems and dental problems. These include cracks in the enamel, broken corners, loose fillings, jaw malpositions and completely worn-out tooth structure. But many sufferers do not notice it at first and only seek help from the dentist when the damage is already great. "It happens that we have to over-crown all our teeth because they are so damaged," said the dental specialist from Münster.
The causes of bruxism are still little researched scientifically. The risk factors include sleep disorders, but also influences from alcohol, smoking, caffeine or some medications. It may also be deviations in the temporomandibular joint or malocclusions cause the tooth-destroying activity. According to numerous experts are also emotional problems to depression, chronic stress or anxiety triggers. "Many lack the ability to relax in periods that are not stressful," says Wolowski. The specialist continued: "The stress situation is the trigger, but the problem can not be turned off anymore."
Bite rails protect the teeth
Usually, bruxism is diagnosed by a dentist. The standard therapy is a so-called crunching splint (bite splint), which usually has to be worn at night. These plastic splints are designed to prevent overloading the teeth, muscles and joints, protect the dentition and compensate for irregularities. In a scientific opinion, the German Society for Functional Diagnostics and Therapy (DGFDT) recommends hard splints that have a chewing relief on the other side over the teeth on the other side, which brings the upper jaw into the most optimal position when biting. "We do not recommend soft rails, because they give way so much that they trigger a chewing gum effect," says Wolowski. However, this therapy does not change the basic problem of crunching.
Mechanisms for coping with stress
To tackle the root of the problem, one should learn how to manage stress and increase self-awareness. "Someone who has a perfectly tense neck can not be helped by asking him to just relax. He can not do that, "explained the dental specialist. Experts often recommend yoga, autogenic training, hypnotherapy, Jacobsen progressive muscle relaxation, bio-feedback or behavioral therapy in this context. In the physiotherapy, first, stubborn cramps are resolved and then the patients learn how to relieve the jaw and how chewing movements and the opening and closing of the jaw are being carried out. More recently, dentists have also offered treatment with Botox to relax the muscles hardened by grinding their teeth. However, there is still little knowledge about the longer-term consequences. However, experts often advise against drugs that provide relief in the short term. (Ad)