Q1. What is bruxing?
A1. Bruxing is a medical term for grinding or gnashing of teeth.
Q2. Why do people grind, is it stress-related?
A2. There are four accepted reasons for why patients grind their teeth:
a) It may be due to an increase of stress, both physical and emotional.
b) It may be a side effect of antidepressant medication, serotonin uptake blockers, such as Prozac have been shown to trigger bruxing in 25% of patients.
c) It may be due to tooth and joint discrepancies.
d) It may be due to a central nervous systems influence which appears to be related more to sleep issues.
Q3. Does the appliance stop patients from grinding?
A3. Only if is related to tooth and joint discrepancies. If it is related to any other cause, the answer is NO!
Q4. Can we use one of the “Off the shelf” appliances?
A4. Maybe. If our only concern is tooth wear, then anything you place between your teeth will prevent tooth wear. However, there are 3 other very important benefits of wearing a nightguard if you grind your teeth:
1) By taking specific bite records the jaw can be centered into its proper joint space thereby stabilizing the joint and reducing the potential for breakdown. This is not possible with an “off the shelf” appliance.
2) By developing a very specific physiologic “bite”, the back teeth which can generate an average of 200 lbs. of force and up to1000 lbs. are eliminated from exerting such force by ensuring they are apart once the patient grinds left/right or forward. This decreases the effect on muscles, bone, joint and teeth 80-90%. The front teeth can only generate approx. 40 – 50 lbs. of force when biting. This cannot be achieved with “off the shelf” nightguard or one that is fabricated from two impressions without accurate and complete bite registration. (Which is the usual protocol for most dental office appliances)
3) The final benefit is one of diagnostic value. How do we know for sure we grind our teeth. This will be confirmed on the appliance which will mark both the pattern of grinding and intensity of grinding. This will then allow the dentist and patient to make an informed decision about how long to wear the appliance and what the next logical step in treatment would be.
Please feel free to ask us about any confusion or questions you might have. My staff and I are more than happy to explain further.