What is Bruxism and Why Does It Occur?


Bruxism is another word for tooth grinding. Many people grind their teeth under stress, when they are anxious or, most commonly, while they are sleeping. Grinding the teeth can result in damage to the teeth, excessive wear, jaw injuries, and can even be the root cause of headaches or a symptom of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).

Causes of Bruxism

Although bruxism is relatively common, its exact causes are unknown. Factors that might lead to bruxism include:

  • Stress
  • Malocclusion (improper alignment)
  • Certain medications
  • Repressed emotion, especially anger or aggression
  • In children, bruxism can occur during teething or in response to head or ear pain. In some cases, bruxism seems to be a response to the sleep cycle. A dentist is best able to determine the cause of an individual case of bruxism and to recommend treatment.

    Treatments for Bruxism

    Although the causes of bruxism remain unclear, several treatments have been developed to reduce the occurrence of teeth grinding and thus to alleviate its side effects. Depending upon the apparent source of the teeth grinding habit, treatments can include:

  • Orthotics such as mouth guards to be worn at night
  • Correction of misalignment
  • Behavior modification
  • Stress reduction activities
  • Dentists can often spot bruxism easily, but determining its cause and the best treatment might require additional trips to the dental office. A qualified dentist in Plano with experience in treating bruxism can help eliminate this damaging habit.