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What will happen if you grind your teeth during sleep?

May 14th,2018

Bruxism is one of the common dental issues with which many kids and adults are affected. People suffering from bruxism grind or clench their teeth while they are sleeping or waking. Recent stats show that both men and women are affected by this oral health complication in an equal proportion.

If you continuously clench your teeth during your sleep, it will lead to serious problems like abnormal wear patterns on the teeth, jaw misalignment, etc.


There is a poor understanding of the factors causing teeth grinding. Many dental health specialists predict that it may be due to psychological or genetic disorders.

Anyone of the following factors will induce bruxism:

Sleep Disorders – People who have the habit of grinding their teeth during their sleep have higher chances of affected by other sleep disorders like snoring, sleep paralysis, sleep talking, etc.

Psychological components – We know that stress and anxiety we encounter in our daily lives agitate our sleep. Bruxism is caused as a consequence of such agitation in sleep. Dentists state that around 70% of sleep bruxism is caused because of stress, anxiety and other factors affecting our mental health.

Lifestyle factors – Apart from physical and psychological disorders, certain habits and medications integrated with our daily life also a reason behind bruxism. People who regularly take tobacco, alcohol, medications to fall asleep encounter changes in their sleeping patterns which may also lead them to clench their teeth while sleeping.

Hereditary factors – Researches show that bruxism is partially determined by our genes. Dentists also reveal that 21% of bruxism is caused due to hereditary factors.

Signs and Symptoms

We can identify the effects caused by bruxism on our teeth. Certain symptoms associated with teeth grinding include:
• Teeth appear chipped or flattened
• Exposure of the inner particles of the tooth
• Sensitive pain in the tooth when exposed to hot or cold particles

Other signs include:

• Sleep disruption
• Headaches
• Difficulty in opening or closing the jaw
• Burning sensation on the tongue
• Chronic facial pain
• Pain in the ear. This is due to the recession of the jaw muscles.


Dental treatments are mandatory for people who have badly damaged their teeth by bruxism. There are certain medical approaches available to prevent further damage to the teeth. Your dentist will choose the appropriate one to protect your teeth.

Mouth guards – They are also known as Splints. It is made up of acrylic particles. By wearing the splints on the upper or lower surface of your teeth, it will serve as a protecting guard for your teeth from damages caused by sleep or awake bruxism.

Restorative Procedures – The mouth guards are not suitable for persons who have malocclusions. Such people require certain restorative and orthodontic procedures with equipment like Dental veneers to reshape the damaged teeth.

Besides these dental approaches, Teeth grinding requires various approaches like stress reduction therapy, drug therapy, changes in sleeping positions and others to get rid of bruxism.


Even though the causes of bruxism are not clearly identified, dental health professionals are sure that bruxism is associated with various complications like occlusion, jaw misalignment, TMJ pain, etc.

Mostly, children decline the habit of teeth grinding when they reach teenage. Only a few people continue this even after reaching their adult age. It is essential for those to consult your dentist in order to quit this habit. Then you can prevent serious dental issues caused by bruxism.

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