Bruxism

(Teeth Grinding)

Definition

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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Causes

The exact cause of bruxism is unknown, but it is believed to be related to:
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Abnormal alignment of the teeth or jaws

Risk Factors

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:
  • Chronic stress or anxiety
  • Aggressive or competitive personality
  • Smoking tobacco or drinking caffeinated beverages
  • Abuse of drugs or alcohol, especially methamphetamines
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Family member with bruxism
  • Facial or oral trauma
  • Use of psychiatric medications, especially antidepressants
  • Prior serious head injury
  • Complication resulting from a disorder, such as Huntington's or Parkinson's disease

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:
  • Grinding sounds during sleep
  • Teeth that are sensitive to heat, cold, or brushing
  • Tense facial or jaw muscles
  • Teeth that are worn down, flattened, fractured, or chipped
  • Hairline cracks or wearing of the enamel on some teeth
  • Sore teeth
  • Swollen gums
  • Headache, especially when waking in the morning
  • Damage to the inside of the cheek—from biting or chewing

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