What Is Teeth Grinding?


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Teeth Grinding, otherwise known as Bruxism, involves excessive clenching of the jaw and grinding of the teeth. According to the National Sleep Foundation, this condition affects 8% of adults. A study also found that slightly more than 1/3 of parents reported such symptoms in their children.

Bruxism is categorized by the timing of occurence. Teeth grinding which occurs during wakefulness is called awake bruxism while teeth grinding which occurs during sleep is called sleep bruxism. For the former, the symptoms may not present after waking but gradually worsen through the day. For the latter, the symptoms are worst on waking but tend to improve through the day. Studies have found that awake bruxism tends to be more common in females while both genders are equally affected by sleep bruxism.

Besides being classified by temporal pattern, bruxism can be categorized by the following:

* Cause

Bruxism can be idiopathic, which means that it is not related to any medical disorder, or it can be associated with other medical conditions. The former is known as primary bruxism, while the latter is known as secondary bruxism. Alternatively, bruxism can be divided into pathophysiological, psychosocial and peripheral factors.

* Severity

Bruxism can be classified into mild, moderate and severe. The dimensions of severity are divided into frequency of occurence, damage to the teeth and psychosocial impairment.

* Duration

Bruxism can also be classified according to the duration the symptoms are present. Acute lasts for less than a week. Subacute lasts more than a week but less than a month. Chronic lasts for over a month.