Posted on: September 6, 2018

What Are The Causes of Teeth Grinding?

Teeth grinding, or Bruxism is the term for describing teeth grinding when you are not chewing. The teeth brush against each other with the forward, backward, or sideways movement of the jaw. In most cases, the person is not aware of the activity. Teeth clenching happens when a person keeps their teeth against each other with clenched muscles without jaw movement. It is common to see people grinding or clenching their teeth during the daytime, but most cases of bruxism occur when the person is sleeping. Sleep-related bruxism is problematic because it is more difficult to manage. It is a common sleep disorder and considered unmindful neuromuscular activity.

Effects of Teeth Grinding

Continually grinding the teeth degrades teeth structure and may cause them to become stunted, fractured, or blunted. This effect of clenching is a result of repeated pressure on the tissues, muscles, and the structures surrounding the jaw. Grinding the teeth against each other may cause:

  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Myofascial muscle ache
  • Headaches
  • Arthritis of the temporomandibular joint
  • Sore Gums
  • The clicking of jaw joints
  • Loose, sensitive, or broken teeth
  • Jaw pain and stiffness

The person may also experience an earache, partially because the temporomandibular joint structure is near the ear canal. Referral pain may also occur, where the person experiences pain in a different area from its origin. Other possible signs are depression, insomnia, anxiety, and eating disorders. The noise may also disturb people sleeping close by. In extreme cases, teeth grinding may damage the occlusal top of the teeth, especially the molars. This may aid temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.

Possible Causes of Bruxism

Although it is hard to pinpoint the primary cause of bruxism, multiple factors may contribute to the situation. Kids often grind their teeth after their first teeth erupt, and when developing permanent teeth. The act typically stops when their permanent teeth have fully developed. Stress also contributes to clenching and grinding, especially when the person is experiencing anxiety, anger, or trying to concentrate. Studies have shown an increase in heart rate and brain activity before teeth grinding starts, which means the central nervous system is also a contributor. Missing or crooked teeth may also lead to teeth grinding, mostly caused by irritation. The side effects of some medications such as amphetamines, antipsychotics, and antidepressants may include teeth grinding. Bruxism may be a result of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or Huntington’s disease.

That is not all…

Some experts believe teeth grinding may also be due to an abnormal bite when the teeth do not align correctly when closing the jaw. An occlusal discrepancy is a term to describe teeth misalignment. However, this theory has no scientific backing. Other contributing factors are alcohol consumption, sleep apnea, snoring, and fatigue. In some people, the facial muscles spasm during sleep. In kids, bruxism may be their reaction to teething pain or dissatisfaction. Kids with ADD/ADHD may also grind their teeth.

Final Note

Teeth grinding is common among kids and rarer in adults, especially those above 65 years. The dentist may recommend mouth guard, splint, or jaw alignment to curb bruxism.

Request a dental appointment here: https://www.ready2smile.com or call Ready 2 Smile Dental Group at (951) 327-2112 for an appointment in our Temecula dental office.


Related Posts

December 16, 2017

TMJ versus TMD - What is the difference?

Currently having jaw problems? Wondering if you have TMJ? You just might be right, although the correct term would be TMD. While this inconvenient jaw issue has affected millions of people over the years no …

April 20, 2016

A Local Dentist Treats Patients with Diabetes

We are a local dentist practice that treats patients who are suffering from diabetes. This is a common condition that impacts people of all ages. What many people don't realize is that it also can …

May 2, 2016

Why Acid Reflux Can Lead to a Dentist Appointment

If you have severe acid reflux, you may end up needing a dentist. Since acid reflux impacts your stomach and digestive track, it may seem strange that the two are connected. In reality, it is …

July 16, 2019

Should I Get Dental Crowns or Veneers?

Dental crowns and veneers are popular treatment options for people who have cracked a tooth, want to make cosmetic changes to their teeth, or are looking to step up their smiles. Although both of these …