Clenching, or grinding of teeth, most often at night, is a common problem for many adults and children. According to the Canadian Sleep Society, approximately 8% of adults and close to 13% of children experience sleep bruxism.
Causes: Anxiety, stress, disrupted sleep, misaligned and/or missing teeth are among the causes. More often than not those that clench, grind or gnash their teeth are not even aware they are doing it.
Signs: In many cases sound is the first indicator, as a partner and/or parent (of a child) hears the grinding. Other signs may include:
When you clench and/or grind, your teeth exert a huge amount of pressure on your teeth. Prolonged bruxism can lead to cracked, chipped, broken or loose teeth, or damage to the temporomandibular joint of the jaws.
Through regular dental visits, your dentist will monitor your mouth including any irregular wear on the surfaces of your teeth. It's important to let your dentist know if you've experienced any unusual or increased sensitivity or pain in your head and neck area. This can help to diagnose bruxism early, and limit any damage to your mouth.