CRDAMC Homepage | CRDAMC Library Phone #: (254) 288-8366 | CRDAMC Library Fax #: (254) 288-8368

Search Health Library

Bruxism

(Teeth Grinding)

Definition

Bruxism is chronic, involuntary grinding or clenching of teeth. It usually occurs during sleep, but it may also occur while awake.

Closed Jaw

Nucleus factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes    TOP

The exact cause of bruxism is unknown, but it is believed to be related to:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Abnormal alignment of the teeth or jaws

Risk Factors    TOP

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:

  • Chronic stress or anxiety
  • Pain
  • Aggressive or competitive personality
  • Smoking tobacco or drinking caffeinated beverages
  • Abuse of drugs or alcohol, especially methamphetamines
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Family member with bruxism
  • Facial or oral trauma
  • Use of psychiatric medications, especially antidepressants
  • Prior serious head injury
  • Complication resulting from a disorder, such as Huntington's or Parkinson's disease

Symptoms    TOP

Symptoms may include:

  • Grinding sounds during sleep
  • Teeth that are sensitive to heat, cold, or brushing
  • Tense facial or jaw muscles
  • Teeth that are worn down, flattened, fractured, or chipped
  • Hairline cracks or wearing of the enamel on some teeth
  • Sore teeth
  • Swollen gums
  • Headache, especially when waking in the morning
  • Damage to the inside of the cheek—from biting or chewing

Diagnosis    TOP

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.

Treatment    TOP

Methods of treatment include:

Behavioral or Cognitive Treatment

This method focuses on changing behavior through various techniques, such as:

Orthodontic Treatment

The dentist may advise:

  • A protective mouth appliance, such as a night guard. It can absorb the pressure of constant night grinding.
  • Correction of misaligned teeth causing bruxism.

Medication    TOP

Medication is only recommended for short-term use. Medications may include:

  • Muscle relaxants before sleep
  • Mild sleeping aids
  • Injection of botulinum toxin (Botox) into jaw muscle—for severe cases or if other treatments are not working

Bruxism that is not treated may result in gum damage, tooth loss, and jaw-related disorders.

Prevention    TOP

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.

RESOURCES:

Academy of General Dentistry
http://www.agd.org
Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association
http://www.mouthhealthy.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Dental Association
http://www.cda-adc.ca

References:

Bruxism. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated July 2015. Accessed August 22, 2017.
Management of temporomandibular disorders. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... Updated March 30, 2017. Accessed August 22, 2017.
Teeth grinding. Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed August 22, 2017.
Teeth grinding. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated December 2009. Accessed August 22, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD FAAP
Last Updated: 9/30/2013

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at healthlibrarysupport@ebsco.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.

Health Library: Editorial Policy | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Support
36000 Darnall Loop Fort Hood, Texas 76544-4752 | Phone: (254) 288-8000