Bruxism (BRUK-siz-um) is a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. If you have bruxism, you may unconsciously clench your teeth together during the day or grind them at night, which is called sleep bruxism.
Bruxism may be mild and may not even require treatment. However, it can be frequent and severe enough to lead to jaw disorders, headaches, damaged teeth and other problems. Because you may have sleep bruxism and be unaware of it until complications develop, it's important to know the signs and symptoms of bruxism and to seek regular dental care.
Signs and symptoms of bruxism may include:
Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to awaken your sleep partner
Teeth that are worn down, flattened, fractured or chipped
Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth
Increased tooth sensitivity
Jaw pain or tightness in your jaw muscles
Tired jaw muscles
Earache — because of severe jaw muscle contractions, not a problem with your ear
Chronic facial pain
Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek
Indentations on your tongue
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Image by Haderer Muller
— with Norbee Pansuelo.