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Bruxism is the excessive, violent and noisy grinding of the lower and upper teeth for a few seconds and is also known as teeth grinding. It occurs pre-eminently during sleep in patients who sleep either on one side (log position) or in the freefall position.

Bruxism is an abnormal oral function, a movement that does not fulfil any function and which originates with spontaneous swallowing, a highly functional and natural act.

Normally, when at rest, and when no pathology is present, the mandible is centred, balanced and placed under the cranium; muscles are in a tonic equilibrium, condyles are symmetrically positioned in their joint cavities; teeth do not touch and benefit from inactivity. Every four minutes, during wake, but also during sleep, spontaneous swallowing occurs, which is a natural, unconscious, innate lifelong reflex which can occur only when the mandible is free to move and make teeth come into correct contact, so that the mouth is functioning harmoniously.

When sleeping on one side, body weight falls on either the right or the left side of the mandible, shifting it towards the opposite side; teeth are pushed against their antagonists causing a lateral forced bite. When spontaneous swallowing occurs in such a position, masticatory muscles make an effort to recentre the mandible and to correct the forced bite.

Because of the weight on the mandible, this movement can occur only by grinding teeth which, in turn, causes bruxism. At night, the neural and muscular apparatus is at work to contrast the weight on the mandible; as a result, unconscious masticatory abnormalities occur during sleep, including violent teeth clenching and grinding.

This is the real explanation why bruxism occurs primarily during sleep.The teeth, forcefully shifted to the opposite side for hours, months and days change their position, resulting in their misalignment. This in turn produces bruxism even during the day, as muscles attempt to reposition the teeth correctly. Bruxism impairs blood circulation especially in the parodontal tissues and bones, causing dystrophy and ischemia. Joints under stress all night long undergo structural and functional damage, they are deformed and misshapen.

For these reasons, bruxism is associated to pain, mandibular joint dysfunctions, clicking noise, persistent facial foruncolosis, headaches, migrane, humming noises, tinnitus, cervical and lumbar pain caused by postural problems, gingivitis, parodontitis, pyorrhea. Psycological problems and stress are not causes for bruxism, but factors facilitating its onset.

In these cases, Doctor Bahri Adis uses custom-made bite planes whose thickness varies from case to case. The bite plane will be fitted onto the patient’s lower arch and will have to be worn at night for a period prescribed by the doctor. Dr Adis will modify the bite plane every month for six months in order to cure bruxism and improve the physical and psychological well-being of his patients.

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