Bruxism is excessive clenching or grinding of teeth that is not a part of normal chewing. It can result in excessive wear on the teeth and may cause permanent damage to teeth and jaws. Excessive clenching and grinding of the jaws are not healthy movements. In some adults and children, clenching may occur during the day or at night. When sleeping, they have no conscious control over excessive clenching and grinding.

A combination of physical and psychological factors are believed to be contributing
factors, namely:

  • Physical stress such as illness, nutritional deficiencies or dehydration
  • Psychological stress and anxiety
  • Abnormal anatomy of teeth or jaws that results in an improper bite and can lead to
    bruxism behaviour.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Tooth pain and sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Chronic facial pain with tension headaches from intense muscle contraction
  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Loose teeth with possible damage to tooth sockets
  • Jaw stiffness and pain
  • Earache in jaw

The variations in the signs and symptoms reflects the strength of clenching and grinding involved in bruxism. Some people may experience tension-related headaches but may have little or no damage to their teeth or jaws and those who experience severe grinding may have damaged teeth and jaw problems.