Bruxism is chronic, involuntary grinding or clenching of teeth. It usually occurs during sleep, but it may also occur while awake.
The exact cause of bruxism is unknown, but it is believed to be related to:
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:
Symptoms may include:
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.
Methods of treatment include:
This method focuses on changing behavior through various techniques, such as:
Your dentist may advise:
Medication is only recommended for short-term use. Medications may include:
Bruxism that is not treated may result in gum damage, tooth loss, and jaw-related disorders.
Academy of General Dentistry
Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association
Canadian Dental Association
Dental Hygiene Canada
Bruxism. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sleep/bruxism.html. Updated October 2012. Accessed August 5, 2015.
Chang H. Botulism toxin: use in disorders of the temporomandibular joint. Dent Today. 2005;24(12):48,50-51.
Tan EK, Jankovic J. Treating severe bruxism with botulinum toxin. J Am Dent Assoc. 2000;131:(2)211-216.
Teeth grinding. Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/teeth-grinding. Accessed September 9, 2014.
Teeth grinding. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at: http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/bruxism-and-sleep. Accessed August 5, 2015.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.