For Dr. Francis Haley, an English dental surgeon based in Cascais, these problems are seen on a daily basis. The clinic is principally concerned with preventive dentistry; encouraging routine check-ups, promoting improved oral hygiene techniques and, when necessary, minimally invasive restorative treatments. These measures, together with healthier lifestyles and modern medical technology are seeing more and more people living longer and maintaining most, if not all, of their teeth. This is of course good news, however it is at this stage that dentists must detect early signs of grinding habits and non-carious tooth loss and implement treatment.

There are two types of bruxers - the grinders and the clenchers. The former is usually nocturnal with lots of noise (partners complain). It’s also the easier to diagnose as aggressive grinders can wear away millimetres of tooth substance before they seek advice. Clenching on the other hand is more common during waking hours. This is generally done unconsciously and the symptoms can be vague - sensitive teeth, muscle or mandibular joint pain or headaches. More importantly both forms can ultimately fracture teeth; the forces involved are such that a perfectly healthy tooth can split in half. This often requires extraction.

Whereas bruxism has been recognised as a pathology since the start of the 20th century it is only in the last 30 years that the concept of abfraction has developed. This is in part because of its similarity to several other phenomena, notably tooth-brush abrasion and erosion from acidic drinks. It is thought that abfraction is the result of stress forces induced within the tooth during chewing but especially when clenching.

For more information on these issues and possible preventive or curative solutions please contact us. Tel: 214863012 or visit: