The act of clenching or grinding teeth during sleep or even during the day may be symptoms of bruxism. Besides pain in the head and jaw, which are the most common symptoms, some people also complain of ringing in the ears, cracks in the bones of the face and sleep disorders. And this pressure causes wear and loosening of the teeth.
In more severe cases, bruxism can also lead to bone problems, gum, increase in masseter and temporal muscles, jaw deviation on mouth opening, teeth fractures and loss of hearing.
Symptoms and causes are varied. Genetic factors, moments of stress, tension, anxiety or even inadequate closure of the mouth are crucial for the diagnosis of bruxism.
The disorder affects people of all ages and both sexes. It is estimated that at least 80% of the population have symptoms of the problem, which is more common among children and youth. Over 65 years, bruxism affects 5% of the people.
In addition to clinical assessments made by doctors or dentists, polysomnography examinations identify the degree of disorder in the patient. The examination is done during a night’s sleep and tends to steer what type of treatment to be adopted.
The treatment is variable. It can be done through medication to control frameworks of stress and anxiety, which can lead to bruxism. Now to minimize the effects of pressure and aches and pains in the face, the treatment is done by means of acrylic plates that are molded into the patient’s dental arch. They help reduce friction between the teeth and restrict the movements of the masticatory muscles.
As the causes of bruxism can be varied, advice from experts is to visit a dentist regularly for analysis of wear on the teeth.
The stem cell research around the world already signals the possibility of obtaining organs and tissues that could be used in humans to replace those that for some reason stopped working or lost. And about the teeth, the studies are promising and it is expected that in future implants will no longer be with prostheses, such as those offered on the market today.
Meanwhile, in laboratories where research on teeth are developed, scientists are working in the preclinical phase, in which the experiments are performed in rats. Before starting the experiments with humans, however, researchers must exhaust all possibilities with the animals.
And in these surveys with laboratory animals, there have been positive results. You can cite as an example the case where a mouse with no immunity developed a tooth after the implantation of stem cells without having it been rejected by its body. In these cases, the cells are placed in a specific type of mold, where it is possible to observe the formation, growth and shape of the new tooth.
However, at least for now, it can not be created an entire tooth from adult stem cells yet, but there are combinations with other organic materials that can make frames similar to the dentition and regenerate certain parts of the tooth. For scientists, this fact has already represented a great advance.
Another important source of research in this segment has been the milk-tooth, which grows and falls in childhood. It contains stem cells in the pulp that can be decisive in the creation of new units.