Tooth Grinding

Have you ever been told that you grind your teeth? Tooth grinding [bruxism] is an oral habit which involves clenching and grinding of the teeth. It is not uncommon in our society. Most often, this habit goes by unnoticed by the person. Bruxism can occur during the day or night.

What causes bruxism?

This condition has no specific cause, but is believed to be a combination of many factors, such as:
• Emotional stress
• Personalities characterized as aggressive, controlling, precise,or who have time urgency and achievement compulsion tend to develop bruxism
• Malocclusion [teeth that are not aligned properly]
• Children whose parents brux are more likely to develop this habit than children whose parents do not brux

Signs of bruxism:

• Tooth wear, fractures of the teeth and fillings, especially on the front teeth
• Grinding noise noticed by a sleeping partner
• Facial muscle pain and fatigue
• Locking, cracking, and clicking of the jaws
• Headaches
• Tooth mobility
• Sensitive teeth

Treatment of bruxism:

• Your oral health professional can make you aware of the habit and suggest behavioral therapies to stop the bruxism
• Stress reduction and coping techniques can be initiated to reduce the emotional stress you may be experiencing
• A removable intra-oral appliance can be made for you. The mouthguard protects the teeth from the forces of clenching or grinding the teeth together. A mouthguard or nightguard is more practical for treating the night bruxer than for those who have daytime clenching and grinding habits

If you think you may be experiencing this oral problem, see your oral health professional.