SLEEP BRUXISM (TOOTH-GRINDING OR TEETH-CLENCHING) INFORMATION

Updated November 30, 1998

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What is Sleep Bruxism?

Sleep Bruxism is a sterotyped movement disorder characterized by grinding or clenching of the teeth during sleep.  The disorder has also been identified as nocturnal bruxism, nocturnal tooth-grinding and nocturnal tooth-clenching.

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of Sleep Bruxism are tooth-grinding or tooth-clenching during sleep that may cause:

How serious is the disorder?

Some people have episodes that occur less than nightly with no evidence of dental injury or impairment of psychosocial functioning. And others experience nightly episodes with evidence of mild impairment of psychosocial functioning. Yet others have nightly episodes with evidence of dental injury, tempomandibular (jaw) disorders, other physical injury or moderate or severe impairment of psychosocial functioning.

When someone with suspected sleep bruxism has a polysomnographic test there is evidence of jaw muscle activity during the sleep period and the absence of abnormal movement during sleep.  Other sleep disorders may be present at the same time, e.g., obstructive sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome.

Damage to the teeth needs to be stopped. Pain and injury to the jaw may require surgery.

How is it treated?

If the damage is not advanced, your dentist can make you a mouthguard that fits over your lower set of teeth and prevents the two sets of teeth from grinding against each other. See below for treatments using neurofeedback to reduce stress, etc.

Bruxism Links

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