what causes bruxism (night grinding)?


what causes bruxism (night grinding)?

In: Biology

Dentist of 25 years here. There is no definitive cause of bruxism. There are many theories on possible links to bruxism and there may in fact be different causes for different people. It is mostly an unconscious habit and can occur in young and old. It does sometimes run in families so there maybe a genetic component. There are certain bite patterns (especially bite interferences) which seem to be more prevalent in bruxers but there are people with perfect bites who grind like crazy as well. It seems to be heightened during stressful life events. It is not always nighttime as people often catch themselves doing it during the day as well although this is more common among clenchers . Some people don’t grind they just clench their teeth very tightly.

Some common signs of bruxing/clenching are: Bone growth called tori around the roots of teeth especially inside the bottom jaw and in the middle of the palate. Notches or root exposure at the gum line. Flattening of the cusps of the teeth. Increased sensitivity. Increased mobility in teeth (side to side) Muscle tension/fatigue or pain. Jaw joint pain. Headaches especially first thing in the morning.

There is no definitive way to stop. It tends to be cyclic and has spurts of varying intensity. Some people have had moderate success with hypnotism. Mostly we try to protect against the effects of grinding by using a night guard. It is important to use a night guard made and adjusted by a dentist because over the counter solutions can cause more harm than good such as altering your bite,over-eruption of teeth or trauma. Anecdotally, it seems to have become more common in the last 5-10 years, but that maybe because people are keeping their teeth longer and my clientele is getting older.

I think that covers it…Probably not ELI5 but the best I can do.