The brux of the matter – Neil Photay – CosTech

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  Posted by: Dental Design      4th April 2019

It is estimated that between 8-10% of the UK population suffers from bruxism.[i]For professionals this raises a number of challenges, especially when it comes to considering how to effectively repair the damage that this condition can cause.

What does bruxism do?

Bruxism affects sufferers in a multitude of ways. As the condition is characterised by the clenching of the jaw and grinding of the teeth, this can quickly lead to numerous problems that can easily impact an individual’s standard of living. Early signs of bruxism include headaches, ear aches and facial myalgia (sore or aching face and jaw muscles) and these are generally caused by the motion of the bruxism itself.

However, if left untreated, bruxism can start to cause real damage to the teeth and muscles, resulting in temporomandibular joint disorders and tooth breakage or wear – all of which can be very restrictive for patients and cause a lot of pain.[ii]Furthermore, the wearing, loosening and fracture of teeth can also impact people’s lives in other ways, and having damaged dentition may restrict their ability to eat properly or even lower their self-esteem due to compromised aesthetics.

Professional response

Although preventative measures such as mouth guards, hypnosis and other treatments are best to explore before any significant harm has been done,[iii]it’s likely that professionals will see patients when damage has already occurred. This is especially true if you are faced with patients who do not attend for regular check ups and instead only come to the practice in the case of an emergency such as a chipped tooth.

It’s probable that patients with damage caused by bruxism will need restorative treatment, but therein lies something important to consider – which restorative materials are most suitable for bruxist patients? As a patient will often need restorative work urgently, professionals may have to provide it before the bruxism can be solved, so it makes sense to explore which materials can withstand this behaviour the best.

Strength and resilience

The most important characteristic for a restorative material to possess in order to treat bruxist patients effectively is strength. The chosen material needs to be able to withstand pressure so that it will not crack when tooth grinding does occur. Metallic restoratives such as those made from alloys have long been considered the strongest due to their shatter resistance under pressure, and porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns also provide the added benefit of better aesthetics.

However, one downside to these types of restorations is that they are both less natural-looking than alternatives such as zirconia. Full-metal restorations are highly visible, and even PFM crowns can look out of place, especially as they filter light differently when compared to natural dentition.[iv]Furthermore, in the event of any gum recession the metallic parts of PFM crowns are likely to be revealed, causing visible black or grey lines.

The power of zirconia

In bruxist patients, damage to anterior and posterior teeth are equally likely,[v]and therefore restorations should be aesthetic as well as strong. In light of this, zirconia quickly becomes a suitable option.

As well as being able to provide excellent aesthetics, the material has also been proven to exhibit strength comparable to steel alloys.[vi]Monolithic zirconia, in particular, has been identified as a viable choice for dental restorations as it has a higher fracture resistance than conventional veneered zirconia, making it an attractive prospect in patients who are more likely to cause fractures but still want a natural-looking smile.[vii]

Available to all

Traditionally, zirconia restorations have not been available to NHS patients, and this may have restricted professionals from being able to offer this material to some individuals suffering from bruxism. However, CosTech Dental Laboratory has just started offering professionals Monolith Full-Contour Zirconia – a highly aesthetic and durable option that is available on the NHS at just £29.95 per unit including free delivery to and from the laboratory. By choosing this zirconia professionals can help restore their patients’ smiles with a highly aesthetic and strong choice, regardless of any financial constraints.

Only part of the problem

When it comes to bruxism, prevention is better than cure, so it’s important for professionals to try and find the root cause of the condition before the patient receives restorative work. This way you can help ensure that these restorations will last longer and that less restorative work will be needed in the future.

For more information about CosTech Dental Laboratory, please visit call 01474 320076






[i]The Bruxism Association. What Is Bruxism? Link:[Last accessed November 18].

[ii]The Bruxism Association. Effects of Bruxism. Link:[Last accessed November 18].

[iii]The Bruxism Association. How Can I Stop Grinding My Teeth? Link:[Last accessed November 18].


[iv]Reports of Councils and Bureaus. How To Avoid Problems With Porcelain-Fused-to-metal Restorations. Link:[Last accessed November 18].


[v]Mengatto, C., Coelho-de-Souza, F., Baptista de Souza, O. Sleep Bruxism: Challenges and Restorative Solutions. Clin Cosmet Investig Dent. 2016; 8: 71–77.


[vi]Ozkurt-Kayahan, Z. Monolithic Zirconia: a review of the Literature. Biomedical Research. 2016; 27(4).


[vii]Ozkurt-Kayahan, Z. Monolithic Zirconia: a review of the Literature. Biomedical Research. 2016; 27(4).

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