Busy lives and high stress levels are well renowned for their negative impact on our health but some associated disorders such as teeth grinding often go unnoticed or even ignored by their sufferers.
As Rahul Doshi and Ashish B. Parmar, award-winning cosmetic dentists from Extreme Makeover and partners at The Perfect Smile Studios & Academy in the South East, explain, failure to treat the problem can lead to serious dental problems.
Teeth grinding, or bruxism as it is known in the medical world, is a widespread affliction. Studies show that most of us will suffer from it at some point in our lives while a huge 25 per-cent of us will have a significant problem with the disorder.
Despite this, most of us do not understand the condition or what causes it, or more importantly why we should treat it.
Dr Ashish Parmar of the Perfect Smile Studios, the experts in cosmetic dentistry said: ‘Many sufferers of Bruxism aren’t even aware of the problem due to the fact that most only experience it while asleep. More worryingly, those who are aware often treat it as so insignificant that they don’t bother to seek help.’
There are a number of symptoms that may signal you are suffering with bruxism. You may wake up with a headache, earache, jaw or facial pain that eases as the day goes on. If you have teeth that are sensitive to cold or pressure you may be grinding in the night and if your teeth are mysteriously becoming flatter bruxism is probably the cause.
Dr Parmar added: ‘It is vital that anyone who regularly experiences these symptoms makes an appointment with their dentist. If left untreated significant tooth loss and gum recession may well occur.”
Those who grind their teeth will slowly wear down the occlusal surface of the teeth, that is, the part that we use to bite. This happens as the teeth ‘flex’ under the pressure of being of ground together and is known as ‘occlusal trauma’ – causing damage that is irreversible.
Thankfully, prevention treatment is simple with mouth guards and splints providing instant relief from teeth grinding. Many patients can also benefit from psychological treatment or alternative therapies such as hypnosis – though its use is not well studied.
Dr Parmar added: ‘Although an exact cause has never been found, stress and anxiety are known to significantly contribute to teeth grinding. Simply taking action to reduce stress, particularly before bedtime, could certainly benefit sufferers.
‘It has been documented that those who are naturally aggressive have a higher tendency to teeth grind – in such a case anger therapy could be a blessing in disguise – and not only for the persons jaw.’
If treatment of bruxism is left too late, all may not be lost. The expert cosmetic dentist’s at The Perfect Smile Studios can fix worn teeth with porcelain crowns or veneers. As well as fixing shortened or uneven teeth, this treatment will leave patients sporting a whiter and brighter smile.
Dr Parmar added: ‘Although treatment with porcelain crowns may fix the physical signs of the problem, sufferers will still need to seek treatment in order to prevent undoing the good work of our cosmetic dentist’s!’
For further information on The Perfect Smile Studios visit www.theperfectsmile.co.uk.