Practicing dentistry for thirty years has afforded me the opportunity to see many things. We have witnessed tremendous advances in knowledge, technology, and care to allow the population to maintain their teeth for many years if not for a lifetime. Causes of tooth breakdown or loss, once believed to be an inevitability, such as caries (decay) and periodontal (gum) disease have been studied intensely with effective preventive and treatment modalities having been developed. Patient education, both in office and in the media, has been immeasurable in its value toward this improvement. Like many things in life, as we appear to make great strides to reduce or eradicate something undesirable, there seems to be something else that develops to take its place. This phenomenon is true in dentistry as well. Over the past five to ten years we have seen an exponential growth in ‘bruxism.’ What is bruxisim you may ask? It is defined as the unconscious clencing or grinding of the teeth, usually during sleep. It often goes on for months to years without an individual even realizing that they do it. Is it a new phenomenon? Not likely. Is the percentage of the population that suffers from this problem increasing? Based on my observations, absolutely!
‘Stay tuned’ for more information regarding prevention and treatment of bruxism in future installments.
Dr. Ken Alspach