Mornings without neck pain, ear and joint ache, days without migraines and severe headaches and preserved teeth are reasons to seek help from our experts.
WHAT IS GNATHOLOGY?
Gnathology is a branch of dentistry that studies relations between jaws, between teeth in occlusion and articulation and parafunctions.
Occlusion includes every physiological contact between upper and lower teeth, while articulation denotes the movements that the lower jaw makes while functioning (chewing, talking, swallowing…)
The movements of the lower jaw can be functional or parafunctional. Functional movements are those that occur while chewing, swallowing, speaking, breathing. Parafunctional movements are those that occur during grinding or clenching of teeth.
BRUXISM AND BRUXOMANIA
Bruxism is a term for nocturnal teeth clenching and grinding, and the most common cause for bruxism is stress! Bruxomania is the daily teeth grinding and is considered less damaging.
DAMAGES CAUSED BY BRUXISM AND BRUXOMANIA
All these parafunctions cause heavy damages:
Disorders of the temporomandibular joint TMJ – inflammation, pain, clicking
Teeth attrition – a fast wear down of tooth substances
Periodontitis – bone resorption, gingiva recession, pockets, teeth wobbling and, finally, teeth loss
Pulpitis – inflammation of the dental pulp
Necrosis – lapse of pulp
Headaches and neck pains
Loss of concentration
Fatigue of chewing muscles
Stupor of a part of the face
Morning stiffness and jaw fatigue
CAUSES OF BRUXISM AND BRUXOMANIA
It’s caused by various things:
Smoking, alcohol, amphetamins
Disorders of the CNS (central nervous system)
Because of the loss of dental substance, the height of the bite is diminished, which reflects on the whole stomatognathic system, especially on the chewing muscles and the TMJ, which leads to severe headaches and problems with the neck and spine.
PREVENTION, THERAPY AND PROTECTION
Bruxers, patients with bruxism that experience a great loss of dental substance and the consequent loss of bite height should restore the lost dental tissue.
During tissue reconstruction it is important that the dentist defines precisely the needed bite height so that the muscles and the joint can be put in a normal physiological position. Doing so, the pathological pressure on the temporomandibular joint TMJ and muscles is removed and a harmonious function is restored.
All bruxers, no matter the level of tissue loss, should be made to wear a TMJ relaxation splint. Silicon splints (NTI-TSS) are worn during the night; by raising the bite height and influencing the CNS via a reflex arch, most of the cases result in cessation of clenching and grinding. They also protect the teeth from excessive wear, and prosthetic works from fracture.