Bruxism is chronic, involuntary grinding or clenching of teeth. It usually occurs during sleep, but it may also occur while awake.
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The exact cause of bruxism is unknown, but it is believed to be related to:
Bruxism is more common in people aged 40 years and younger. Women aged 27-40 years old are also likely to get bruxism.
Other factors that may increase your chance of bruxism include:
Symptoms may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. An examination of your teeth and jaw will be done. With bruxism, teeth will have flattened tips, excessive wear, thin enamel, or sensitivity. X-rays may be done to check for further damage to your teeth or the underlying bone.
Methods of treatment include:
This method focuses on changing behavior through various techniques, such as:
The dentist may advise:
Medication is only recommended for short-term use. Medications may include:
Bruxism that is not treated may result in gum damage, tooth loss, and jaw-related disorders.
The same methods used to treat bruxism can be used to prevent the condition. In addition, avoid caffeinated drinks at night.
Make sure to see your dentist regularly for check-ups.
Academy of General Dentistry
Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association
Canadian Dental Association
Dental Hygiene Canada
Bruxism. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sleep/bruxism.html. Updated July 2015. Accessed August 22, 2017.
Management of temporomandibular disorders. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T917053/Management-of-temporomandibular-disorders.Updated March 30, 2017. Accessed August 22, 2017.
Teeth grinding. Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/teeth-grinding. Accessed August 22, 2017.
Teeth grinding. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at: http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/bruxism-and-sleep. Updated December 2009. Accessed August 22, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD FAAP Last Updated: 9/30/2013