Bruxism is the involuntary habit in which the patient clenches or grinds his/her teeth during sleep and, many times, during the day. Bruxism occurs nowadays in increasing rates due to the increased stress and anxiety of modern life. However, the patients themselves often do not realise its existence as it is an involuntary action.
Bruxism can have a variety of symptoms both in the teeth and in the general oral and maxillofacial system. As far as teeth are concerned, the following can be observed due to bruxism: abrasions, fractures of teeth and restorations (e.g. fillings, crowns), mobility, increased pain, erosion of the upper part of the tooth. Also, bruxismcan cause pain in the facial muscles, headaches, pain, tenderness and sound in the temporomandibular joint and restriction of mouth opening.
The diagnosis of bruxism mandates an attempt to treat it. However, because it is an involuntary habit, its complete treatment is quite difficult. Therefore, the dentist, in addition to the advice he or she can provide, aims to prevent the consequences of bruxism. This is achieved by making a protective splint, which is usually placed on the upper jaw and prevents the teeth from closing in their usual position. It is made of acrylic and its aim is to relax the muscles and protect the teeth. This splint (night guard) should be used by the patient during sleep and also during the day in activities that do not require chewing and speech, such as reading and computer work.