Frequently Asked Questions About Bruxism
What is Bruxism?
brux-ism (br k s z m)
n. - The habitual, involuntary grinding or clenching of
the teeth, usually during sleep, as from anger,
tension, fear, or frustration.
About 50-95% of the population are bruxers, half of
whom become chronic enough to require treatment.
Bruxism can occur at any time, but it’s most common at
night while sleeping. Because it happens during sleep,
most people don’t know they brux until their dentist tells them that they are showing
signs of bruxing. Often a spouse or family member hears the grinding sound. When
diagnosed early, teeth grinding can be treated before it causes permanent damage to
How do I know if I grind my teeth?
There are several telltale signs. Sore or tender jaws, morning headaches, earaches and
neck pain are common signs of moderate to severe bruxing. Others may notice their
teeth have become more sensitive over time, or that their teeth look flat or worn. Other
physical indications of chronic teeth grinding are chipped teeth; increased sensitivity to
hot or cold foods and beverages; and loose or broken fillings. To be sure, it’s best to ask
your dentist or hygienist. They can give you a definitive answer, and recommend the
best treatment options.
Causes of teeth grinding.
Most often, bruxism is related to stress. It may also be a response to pain elsewhere in
the body, or the result of misaligned teeth. Alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants can
aggravate the condition, causing more severe grinding or clenching.
What are my treatment options?
When bruxism is serious enough to cause pain and/or physical damage to your teeth,
your dentist may suggest you wear a bite plate at night. A bite plate is a soft, removable
tray made of a clear, tasteless polymer (plastic) material. It is custom-fit to either your
upper or lower teeth and worn at night to prevent grinding in your sleep.
A bite plate can be custom fitted during your regular dental visit. Or, you can purchase
The Doctor’s® NightGuard™ Advanced Comfort™ Dental Protector.