Many people feel that modern life is stressful enough without having to worry about visiting the dentist. Manchester city centre residents should be aware that anxiety can spill over into bruxism, a destructive habit which can have serious repercussions on dental health.
Bruxism, which involves tooth grinding and jaw clenching, is on the increase, as reported by many city centre dentists. It generally happens when sufferers are asleep, and they may be totally unaware of the problem until their dentist notices the wear-and-tear.
Physical effects of bruxism
Bruxism may involves a lot of force being exerted on the jaw and teeth – around the same as that needed to crack a walnut – so the damage potential is enormous.
Tooth grinding often results in physical symptoms on waking, such as jaw tenderness, headache, earache and a stiff neck. These should not be ignored, as they can be a sign temporomandibular joint disorder, which is potentially serious. Dental complications include:
Abfractures caused by weakened tooth structure
Chipped, broken and worn down teeth
Dental decay caused by erosion of tooth enamel
Loosening of teeth
Erosion of gums and surrounding bone tissue
Alteration of facial features
Treatment for bruxism
Once bruxism is identified the dentist will supply a custom-made appliance, called a night guard or splint, to relieve pressure on the jaw. This can be complemented by various relaxation techniques at home, to address the underlying causes.
A dentist in Manchester city centre can also repair any damage that has already been done, for example by filling, crowning and filing down the affected teeth.