What is bruxism?
Bruxism is a problem in which you unconsciously grind or clench your teeth. You may clench and grind your teeth during the day. Or, at night while you sleep (sleep bruxism). You may not even realize you have it.
Signs and symptoms vary, and can include:
Chipped or cracked teeth
Overly sensitive teeth
Tense facial and jaw muscles
Dislocation of the jaw
Locking of the jaw
Wearing away of the tooth enamel, exposing the underlying dentin (inside of the tooth)
A popping or clicking in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
Damage to the inside of the cheek
Wear facets (flat smooth areas created on the biting surfaces of the teeth as they are rubbed together repeatedly)
The symptoms of bruxism may look like other conditions or health problems. See a dentist or your healthcare provider for a diagnosis and treatment.
What causes bruxism?
Oral health specialists often point to too much stress and certain personality types as causes of bruxism. Bruxism often affects people with nervous tension, such as anger, pain, or frustration. It also affects people with aggressive, hurried, or overly competitive tendencies. There is some proof that in some people, bruxism is caused by an imbalance in brain neurotransmitters. Also, some medicines, such as the antidepressants fluoxetine and paroxetine, can cause bruxism.
How is bruxism diagnosed?
During regular dental visits, your dentist will examine your teeth for signs of bruxism such as flattened tips of the teeth. If signs and symptoms are present, your dentist or other healthcare provider will watch the condition over the next few visits before treatment is started.
Treatment for bruxism
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment based on: