What’s it all about?

By Matt Everatt, Technical Director at S4S Dental Laboratory, and co-founder of Bruxism Awareness Week.

A condition more commonly known as tooth clenching and/or grinding, bruxism affects many people who have very little awareness of the condition itself, let alone the - often simple – solutions available. Matt Everatt, co-founder of Bruxism Awareness Week, discusses why the event was created and how you can request your free information pack to help educate your patients.

As a dental professional with over 20 years’ experience, and a sufferer myself, I have come across hundreds of patients who suffer from bruxism. Alarmingly, the majority of these patients suffer in silence, without knowing who to go to to seek help and unaware that there are simple solutions.

A patient, Elizabeth from Accrington, demonstrates the general lack of information available: “For years I woke with pain in my jaw and a dull headache that gradually faded. I was unaware that my symptoms were caused by grinding my teeth…”

Realising just how little awareness there was amongst both the public and dental professionals, something had to be done. Bruxism Awareness Week was launched in 2010, with the explicit aim to enlighten sufferers as to the nature of their condition, and encourage them to contact their local dentist for simple, swift and straightforward treatment.

Bruxism - the clenching and/or grinding of teeth (mainly nocturnally) - is thought to affect over 80% of the population, to some degree. Many people go undiagnosed because a) they don’t realise they are actually doing it, and b) symptoms such as headaches, neck aches, jaw pain and poor sleep quality, which this activity leads to, are not usually associated with the condition so are often not mentioned by sufferers to their dentist.

As well as a lack of public awareness, there is also a lack of awareness within the dental profession. In many cases, a simple dental splint like the SCi (Sleep Clenching Inhibitor) - worn whilst sleeping - can reduce the intensity of bruxism and therefore relieve the associated symptoms. The feedback from patients and dentists alike is compelling. “I don’t wake with any pain or tenderness in my head or neck. I am sleeping so much better”, says Mr Fitzpaterick from Surrey.

As with the previous campaigns, hundreds of dental practices nationwide will be receiving information and promotional packs to enable them to raise awareness in their practices. Hopefully, in the process, we will be able to help hundreds of undiagnosed bruxism sufferers to seek and receive treatment.

Bruxism Awareness Week runs from Monday 21st October through to the 27th. At S4S Dental Laboratory, we are keen for you to get involved. For special offers running throughout October and November, email marketing@s4sdental.com, where you can also request FREE leaflets and posters for your practice.