Bruxism is a condition in which you grind or clench your teeth. If you have bruxism, you may unconsciously clench your teeth together during the day, or clench or grind them at night (sleep/nocturnal bruxism).
Sleep bruxism is considered a sleep-related movement disorder. People who clench or grind their teeth during sleep are more likely to have other sleep disorders, such as snoring or sleep apnoea. Some people with sleep bruxism may do so due to anxiety or high stress levels.
Mild bruxism may not require treatment. However, in some people, bruxism can be frequent and severe enough to lead to jaw disorders, headaches, damaged teeth and other problems. When you grind or clench your teeth, you exert more physiological force than what teeth and dental work can withstand leading to cracks and fractures of teeth and fillings.
Because you may have sleep bruxism and be unaware of it until complications develop, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of bruxism and to seek regular dental care.
If sleep disorders are not suspected, your dentist may recommend an occlusal splint/nightguard to protect your existing teeth from wear.