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Bruxism, a fancy word for teeth grinding

It often happens in your sleep. Whether caused by stress, a sleep disorder or abnormal teeth alignment, severe bruxism can lead to a slew of complications. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common are:

  • Damage to your teeth (including restorations and crowns) or jaw
  • Tension-type headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Temporomandibular disorders — which occur in the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), located just in front of your ears and felt when opening and closing your mouth

To stop patients from grinding, dentists can create a custom mouthguard or splint for sleeping. Additionally, a muscle relaxant might be prescribed for bedtime. If stress is the root cause of grinding, other lifestyle changes (such meditation or exercise) could also be effective.

The American Dental Association reports teeth grinding can occur at younger ages, but most children outgrow it by adolescence. The best way to detect bruxism is to see a dentist yearly.