Teeth grinding or Bruxism, is when the patient, usually unknowingly and involuntarily during the sleep, clenches the jaws and grinds the teeth. This may have physical and psychological reasons, but often is caused by stress. Bruxism increases as does the stress.

This clenching and grinding can be so excessively strong, that 5-10% of patients suffering from bruxism may cause their tooth fillings or their natural teeth to break. Patients suffering from bruxism may experience painful headaches, difficulty in opening their mouth, may experience muscle soreness in facial and neck muscles, and their partners may be disturbed by the noise coming from the patient’s teeth.

Effects of Bruxism

• The gap between the teeth may increase and the teeth may get loosened.
• The patient may hear their joints make noises when opening and closing the jaw
• Due to excessive pressure, the fillings or the teeth may crack
• Due to trauma, cyst-like formations may occur in dental roots.
• The surface of the teeth may erode due to constant grinding, which may increase sensitivity, if this situation continues, the nerves may get closer to the surface.
• Jaw joint pain may be observed, this pain may trigger ear, eye and headaches as well.
• Muscle and joint paint is usually seen around neck and head areas. Muscle pain is the first indicators.
• Constant teeth grinding may cause the patient to feel like having sand inside their mouth when they wake up, this is caused by eroded tooth or filling particles piling up inside mouth.

Why it occurs?

There are various factors considered to be contributing to bruxism. The reasons vary from patient to patient, and may be caused by psychologic, systemic reasons as well as dental pain.
• From a dental perspective, one of the causes is to have prosthesis or fillings that are made bigger or smaller than is required or for the never to not placed properly.
• From a psychological perspective, which is one of the most frequently observed causes of bruxism, everyday stress and personal problems constitutes the main category. Feeling of regret, sleep deprivation, anxiety, jealousy, obsession, emotional stress can also be listed as causes of bruxism.
• Can vary between personality types, usually observed more frequently on meticulous, impatient, or on aggressive patients.
• From a systemic perspective, intestinal problems, malnutrition and allergic & endocrinal reasons are the main causes. Filling the stomach excessively, may trigger the nerves on the brain, secretion of digestive enzymes increase, stomach acidity increases, salivary glands secrete saliva in mouth, which may result with bruxism.
• Nasal blockage caused by sinusitis is one of the causes of bruxism in children.