"Bruxism" is the medical term for teeth grinding
The grinding of teeth is also know by the Latin name bruxism and usually happens when the patient is sleeping.
People deal with stress differently, when the jaws and teeth are used this is known as bruxism.
When we talk of stress in this case we mean so-called distress. Eustress rarely causes tension which requires release. The difference between eustress and distress can be illustrated in the following story: The fox is hunting a rabbit, the fox has eustress as he thinks to himself that if he catches the rabbit he has a fine meal, the rabbit on the other hand suffers from distress as it is a matter of life and death.
Many people use their jaws and teeth to relive stress when sleeping. They usually don t realize that they are grinding their teeth and may only wake up with some muscular pain in the jaw. Bruxism in young people can lead to jaw joint problems when then grow up. Therefore, it is important to identify young people who suffer from this problem and help them with psychotherapy. Children generally grind their teeth and usually do not require therapy.
Using the jaw and teeth to relive stress is not all bad; problems arise when the grinding of the teeth talks place over many years and damages the teeth. In the picture you can see how grinding of the teeth has affected the teeth and how the teeth have shortened. Other problems are jaw joint problems, ear pain, parodontal damage and facial pain.
The dental therapy for bruxism is usually only a symptomatic therapy i.e. a mouth guard which slows down the rate at which the teeth are ground down. Behavior such as no food before going to bed, no alcohol, no nicotine or caffeine can help the patient sleep better but do not offer a cure for bruxism. A psychotherapy can help shortened the bruxism phases and many patients learn to live and deal with bruxism very successfully. When there are problems in the patient’s private life or work environment then the patient can start to use the mouth guard before going to sleep to help cope with the stress.
Teeth which have been sanded down as a result of bruxism can only be built-up in combination with a mouth guard as without the guard the teeth will be ground down again.
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