What is Bruxism? (Teeth-Grinding)


(Photos: credit to the owners)

    Bruxism is the clenching or the grinding of teeth. Usually, the person is not aware that he/she is doing it. Most people grind their teeth when they are asleep. This condition is called "sleep related bruxism" and is usually associated with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea (pauses in breathing while asleep) and snoring. But there are others who grind or clench their teeth during the day. This happens in situations when the person is stressed, anxious or tensed.  Bruxism may be mild and occasional. However, there are others whose grinding and clenching become hard and frequent. This problem is also not limited to adults alone. Children may suffer from this condition. They tend to grind their teeth when their baby teeth start cutting in or when the permanent teeth start erupting. 

    How does one know he/she is suffering from bruxism? When someone who sleeps with you in the same room notices a certain sound you make which is different from a snore, usually a grating sound, most likely, you were grinding your teeth. If you experience a dull headache as soon as you wake up and you feel some soreness in your facial muscles or in the jaw area, you may be suffering from bruxism. A cracked tooth or filling, a chipped tooth or filling, flattened or worn-down tooth or loose teeth may suggest bruxism.

    There is no specific cause as to why a person bruxes.  The causes may be psychological such as when a person is emotionally involved in a situation that causes him/her stress, anxitey, anger, and tension.  It may be physical such as malocclusion or the improper alignment of both upper and lower teeth. Sleep problems as mentioned earlier may cause bruxism.

     A regular dental check up is very important to prevent further damage bruxism makes to your teeth. Treatment varies depending on the cause of your bruxism.  It is best to see your dentist or your doctor if you notice that you have one or more of the symptoms mentioned above.