BruxismEn Español (Spanish Version)
Bruxism is chronic, involuntary grinding or clenching of teeth. It usually occurs during sleep, but it may also occur while awake.
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The exact cause of bruxism is unknown, but it is believed to be related to:
- Abnormal alignment of the teeth or jaws
Risk factors that increases your chance of getting bruxism include:
- Chronic stress or
- Aggressive or competitive personality
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Age: 40 or younger; especially common in women aged 27-40
- Family member with bruxism
- Facial or oral trauma
- Use of psychiatric medications, especially antidepressants
- Prior serious head injury
Symptoms may include:
- Grinding sounds during sleep
- Teeth that are sensitive to heat, cold, or brushing
- Tense facial or jaw muscles
- Hairline cracks of the enamel on some teeth
- Sore teeth
Inflammation of the gums (
- Headache, especially when waking in the morning
- Damage to the inside of the cheek (from biting or chewing)
- Temporomandibular joint disorder
The doctor or dentist will ask 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, or thin enamel.
Methods of treatment include:
This method focuses on changing behavior through various techniques, such as:
Your dentist may recommend a protective mouth appliance, such as a night guard. It can absorb the pressure of constant night grinding.
Medication is only recommended for short-term use. Medications may include:
- Muscle relaxants
- Mild sleeping aids
- Injection of botulinum toxin (Botox) in severe cases
Bruxism that is not
may result in gum damage, tooth loss, and jaw-related disorders.
The same methods used to treat bruxism can be used to prevent the condition.
Academy of General Dentistry
American Dental Association
Canadian Dental Association
The Canadian Dental Hygienists Association
Bruxism. University of Virginia Health System website. Available at:
. Accessed January 22, 2013.
Chang H. Botulism toxin: use in disorders of the temporomandibular joint.
. 2005;24:48,50-1; quiz 51.
Tan EK, Jankovic J. Treating severe bruxism with botulinum toxin.
J Am Dent Assoc
Teeth grinding. American Dental Association's Mouth Healthy website. Available at: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/teeth-grinding.aspx. Accessed January 22, 2013.
Last Reviewed September 2012