Bruxism is when someone grinds their teeth together or clenches their jaw.
Most people who suffer from bruxism are unaware that they are doing it. This can be because there are no symptoms, or because the symptoms are not associated with a clenching and grinding problem. It often happens while concentrating, under stress or during sleep.
If there are symptoms they can include:
- facial pain
- worn-down teeth, which can lead to increased sensitivity and even tooth loss
- pain and stiffness in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles
- disrupted sleep
- A burning sensation on the tongue
- Hypersensitive teeth
- broken teeth or fillings
The cause isn’t always clear. Stress and anxiety can contribute to bruxism. There is growing evidence that a stressful lifestyle can contribute. Some consider emotional stress to be the main triggering factor. Some reports indicate that people with bruxism respond differently to stress, hostility and depression. Children with bruxism have been shown to have greater levels of anxiety than children without bruxism. Work-related stress and irregular work shifts may also be contribute. Aggressive, competitive or hyperactive personality types are more likely to suffer. Suggesting that suppressed anger or frustration can contribute to bruxism. It can be affected by stressful periods. Bereavement, marriage, divorce, examination or relocating can all have an effect.