Bruxism, also known as tooth grinding, is the excessive grinding of the teeth in a back & forth, sideways movement and/or excessive clenching of the jaw. It is a very common problem in about 30% of the population reportedly. The main cause of bruxism/ clenching is stress related and it's typically a subconscious behavior not realized by the bruxer. Often a partner or significant other is the first to hear the noise of the bruxer's teeth grinding at night. If not treated, bruxism can wear down your teeth, cause tooth fracture, permanent gum recession and bone loss.
Clenching can cause damage to the TMJ (temperomandibular joint), pressure on the muscles, tissues, and other surrounding structures of the jaw. The TMJ is the hinge that connects the lower jaw to the upper jaw. In addition, clenching can cause jaw joint disorders, headaches, ear pain, jaw pain, neck pain, tense muscles and excessive wear on the teeth. Collectively these symptoms are referred to as "TMJ" problems. A custom Night guard or Occlusal guard, fabricated by a dental lab under the supervision of a dentist, is typically the first treatment recommendation.