Teeth grinding (bruxism)

Teeth grinding (bruxism) is the unconscious gnashing, grinding, or clenching of the teeth. It usually occurs during sleep. This process can grind away parts of the teeth, leaving flattened, worn-down biting edges; fractured enamel; and painful or loose teeth.

Although the exact cause of bruxism is not always known, it may be caused by:

  • Emotional stress, fatigue, or sleep disorders.
  • An abnormal bite or crooked or missing teeth.
  • Alcohol or drug abuse.

Talk to your dentist if grinding is causing injury to your teeth. Your dentist will determine which treatment is right for you. A mouth guard may be recommended to help protect your teeth from further damage.

Last Updated: September 26, 2008

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.