Bruxism: A medical or dental issue?

There's more to this complex, perplexing disorder than meets the eye, as any professional who has been in the field for more than a few years can tell you. Beyond its local effects, bruxism is correlated with many other medical and lifestyle issues.


Photo credit @sherwaygardens


Bruxism is often seen in the dental office and is listed as the “third most common form of sleep disorders after sleep talking and snoring.” This parafunctional habit (or parasomnia in medical terms) of grinding or gnashing the teeth and clenching the jaw has two different subdisorders—awake (diurnal) bruxism and sleep (nocturnal) bruxism—and is encompassed by a complex web of supposed causes and variables. Sleep bruxism (SB) exists in 8% to 31.4% of the population, while awake bruxism has a higher prevalence exhibited in 22.1% to 31% of the general population.2


Unfortunately, both conditions have the same deleterious effects on the patient’s mouth and jaw, causing a cascade of destructive symptoms in the mouth, head, and neck.