The word BRUXISM means grinding of teeth or gnashing of teeth in which the patient also clenches his jaws.

It is an oral para functional activity caused by the activation of chewing habit. It generally occurs during sleep but can also occur in severe stress conditions or anxiety. This habit causes removal of important surface structures of the tooth, leading to various secondary problems like senstivity of the teeth.        

What Leads to Bruxism

What Leads To Bruxism?

There are various causes of teeth grinding, both in children and adults. These are:

  1. Stress and anxiety can lead to teeth grinding and clenching.
  2. Misalignment of teeth is one of the main reasons of teeth grinding.
  3. Disturbed sleep pattern leads to clenching of teeth
  4. More of consumption of food article containing caffeine like coffee, chocolate and more of alcohol consumption leads to clenching of teeth.
  5. Anger and neuromuscular disorders is other cause of Bruxism
  6. Smoking and disorders like parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disorder leads to teeth grinding.
  7. Pain, Lifestyle stress and brain injury can also cause teeth grinding.

Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism

Teeth grinding occurs during sleep so most people are unaware that they have a habit of grinding teeth. People generally learn from their loved ones that they grind teeth ate night.

If you suspect that you are in habit of clenching teeth, then you should visit your dentist. Dentist will examine mouth and jaws for sign of teeth grinding.   

Most of the patients will present with following problems in case of Bruxism:

  1. Dull constant headache
  2. Jaw pain
  3. Over sensitivity of teeth due to toothy wear in case of Bruxism
  4. As a result of teeth grinding, fracture of carious teeth may also occur
  5. Facial pain and ear ache may also occur in case of Bruxism
  6. Tense facial and jaw muscles can occur because of teeth grinding
  7. Cheek damage and indentations on tongue may also occur with Bruxism

Teeth grinding leads to malocclusion in children as children develop a particular way of closing their mouth. Clenching of teeth also leads to TMJ dysfunction. Tooth wear occurs because of teeth grinding which leads to exposure of dentinal surfaces and leads to teeth sensitivity. By Bruxism, incisal surfaces of front teeth and cusps of back teeth are worn down. With teeth grinding, teeth becomes weak and can fracture or chip off easily. Loosening of teeth may also occur with teeth grinding.

Treatment of Teeth Grinding/Bruxism

There is no exact cure of Bruxism. Main aim of treatment is to reduce discomfort or pain associated with Bruxism and to prevent further damage of teeth.

To treat Bruxism, Mouth guard can be given to the patient. Mouth guard is a plastic appliance which is given by the dentist to absorb biting forces and to prevent any damage to teeth and surrounding tissues. Mouth guard is designed for each patient according to his teeth and alignment of teeth. Mouth guard can be repositioning stock mouth guards and custom made mouth guards. Mouth guards are also called as night guard or dental guard or occlusal splint. 

Relaxation Technique: Stress is considered as the main cause of Bruxism. To reduce stress level, patient can follow various relaxation techniques such as visual imagery, autosuggestion; aversive conditioning and meditation can be done.

Teeth damaged due to teeth grinding should be repaired. Prosthetic crowns can be given to repair the damaged teeth. PFM dental crowns can be given for front teeth and metallic dental crowns can be given for back teeth. In chronically involved teeth, root canal treatment or tooth extraction with dental implants or dental bridge may also be required.

Some muscle relaxants may also be given to the patient. Vitamin C supplements or calcium tablets can also be given to the patient to alleviate stress which further reduces grinding of teeth.  

Teeth grinding may occur in children at time of eruption of permanent adult teeth. This habit is self-corrective.

Prognosis of Bruxism

Bruxism is not dangerous but can lead to permanent irreversible damage to teeth and also leads to jaw pain, headaches or pain in the ear.

Complications of Teeth Grinding

Bruxism if not treatment, can lead to anxiety and depression, sleeplessness, eating disorder. Untreated habit will also lead to TMJ problems and can aggravate the tooth wear and dental problem. 

Prevention of Bruxism

In people prone to teeth grinding, stress reduction and anxiety management can prevent chances of Bruxism.

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  • patrick royson

    patrick royson 18 - October - 2013, at 01:40 AM

  • I think my friend have this problem because he have a constant headache... wat is the solution

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