Grinding one’s teeth, also known as bruxism, from the Greek word for gnashing of teeth, is typically accompanied by the clenching of the jaw muscles. It is an oral parafunctional activity, often related to stress, that occurs in most people at some time in their lives. For the most part, bruxism is mild enough not to be a health problem. In more severe cases, bruxism can result in pain of the facial muscles, headaches, advanced tooth wear, broken teeth and restorations and it can contribute to loosening of the teeth by damaging the supporting bone.
While bruxism may be either a day or night time activity, it is bruxism during sleep which causes the majority of health issues. Bruxism is one of the most common sleep disorders, and it can be addressed in various ways to prevent pain and permanent damage.