The medical term for teeth grinding is bruxism. It refers to unconscious clenching or grinding of t...
Read the full transcript »
The medical term for teeth grinding is bruxism. It refers to unconscious clenching or grinding of the teeth. Tooth grinding is based on repetitive, unconscious movement of the masseter, temporalis, and other muscles of mastication - the primary chewing muscles. These are extremely strong muscles; people can commonly generate 150 pounds of pressure between their teeth. Many people grind their teeth at night. Over time, the pressure and grinding motion wear down the teeth and cause them to crack and break down. Tooth grinding also commonly causes headaches, jaw pain, and other problems. Many people are unaware that they grind their teeth, and the problem is identified only because of pain, dental problems, or when someone hears them grinding their teeth at night. The causes are not completely understood; among the possible reasons are stress and upper and lower teeth that are not properly aligned. Treatment is not always needed; serious problems may be treated with medications, dental approaches such as mouth guards, and other techniques.