Health Encyclopedia

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding (bruxism) is the unconscious gnashing, grinding, or clenching of the teeth. It usually occurs during sleep. This process can grind away parts of the teeth, leaving flattened, worn-down biting edges; fractured enamel; and painful or loose teeth.

Although the exact cause of bruxism is not always known, it may be caused by:

  • Emotional stress, fatigue, or sleep disorders.
  • An abnormal bite or crooked or missing teeth.
  • Alcohol or drug abuse.

Talk to your dentist if grinding is causing injury to your teeth. Your dentist will determine which treatment is right for you. A mouth guard may be recommended to help protect your teeth from further damage.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
Last Revised July 20, 2012

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