Teeth Grinding

What is it?

Grinding or clenching of the teeth is called bruxism. It usually occurs when a person is asleep. But can happen while awake. It is usually a mechanism for releasing tension and emotional stress. Another cause of teeth grinding can be poorly aligned teeth. It can also be connected to drug and alcohol use.

If untreated teeth grinding can cause damage to the teeth and jaws and cause considerable pain. Usually partners can hear grinding at night and the person can complain of sore teeth and jaws in the morning. Dentists often point out damage to teeth and gums. Tension headaches are also a common result.

What can be done about teeth grinding?

Prevention/treatment may include:

  • stress therapy
  • relaxation exercises
  • mild sleeping aids
  • muscle relaxants
  • night bite protective appliances
  • bite modification procedures, sometimes called bite equilibration
  • orthodontics, which are special dental appliances such as braces
  • repair of faulty dental crowns or restorations
  • replacement of missing teeth