Grinding teeth: What is it and how is it treated?

Grinding teeth: What is it and how is it treated?

Bruxism is the scientific term used to describe a morbid condition characterized by unconscious grinding and grinding of the teeth and affects 5% – 20% of people, regardless of age and gender.

It occurs at any time, but most often during sleep and the pressure on the teeth is up to six times higher than during the day.


Nocturnal bruxism is the third most common sleep disorder after talking and snoring and the cause is not completely known. The main factor, however, is considered to be stress. Dental factors include dental block closure disorders, sometimes extractions, crooked teeth, malformed fillings and malignant prosthetic work. Non-dental factors include side effects from certain medications such as antidepressants, complications from severe brain damage, and the appearance on the face of a rare neuromuscular disease.


The masticatory muscles become overactive during the roar and therefore after a few hours of unconscious strain, especially during the morning awakening, they may appear tight, tired and sensitive or painful to the touch, sometimes accompanied by dull morning headaches.

The patient may experience discomfort or pain in the temporomandibular joint during the day, especially when chewing or yawning. The pain may be reflected in the ear or neck area and there may be difficulty opening the mouth.


Damage to the teeth manifests itself gradually in the form of abrasion, breakage and detachment of small superficial parts or the appearance of larger fractures and with an increase in their mobility.

Inflammation develops in the periodontium and the increase in the mobility of the teeth predisposes them for faster apoptosis. The tissues of the temporomandibular joint are overloaded due to inflammation which manifests itself with pain located in the jaw or reflected in the ear.


The diagnosis of bruxism can be made during regular visits to the dentist who will examine the teeth (flattening of the masticatory teeth, fractures, poor closure or loss) and the temporomandibular joint (pain or sound).


There are a number of treatment regimens based on both dental intervention and psychological support. From a dental point of view, a special splint is made for the patient’s mouth, which he wears during the night, balancing any occlusive disharmony, such as selective grinding of the teeth, orthodontic and prosthetic restoration.

If the bruxism is attributed to intense stress, you may need to be referred to a psychologist, in case of brain damage or neuromuscular disease, the dentist needs to cooperate with other medical specialties. Caffeine and nicotine can aggravate muscle soreness. Regular visits to the dentist will help to diagnose the problem in time and of course to treat it more effectively!

Advises Ms. Cleopatra Nakopoulou, Periodontist – Implantologist

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