Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding (bruxism) is the involuntary clenching, grinding and gnashing of the teeth. It is thought that about half of the population bruxes from time to time, while around five per cent are habitual and forceful tooth grinders. Bruxism can be a physical expression of stress; for example, susceptible people may tend to grind their teeth when they are angry, concentrating hard on a particular task or feeling anxious. Generally, the person doesn’t realise that they grind their teeth in their sleep. The spouse or partner who shares their bed (and hears the grinding noises at night) is often the first to notice the problem.


Signs and symptoms

  • Mouth appliances to be worn at night

  • Headache, jaw joint and/or ear pain

  • Aching teeth, particularly upon waking

  • Aching and/or stiffness of the face and temples

  • Aching or stiffness in the jaws while chewing

  • Temperature-sensitive teeth

  • Cracked or chipped tooth enamel

  • Tooth indentations on the tongue

  • Raised tissue on the cheek mucosa caused by cheek biting (linea alba)

A range of causes:

Some of the many factors believed to trigger bruxism in susceptible people include:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
  • Emotional stress, such as anger or anxiety
  • Mental concentration
  • Physical effort or stress, such as illness, nutritional deficiency or dehydration
  • Incorrect tooth alignment, including fillings that are too ‘high’
  • Drug misuse (particularly amphetamines)


If you suspect you grind your teeth, see your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will examine your teeth and may take x-rays to gauge the severity of the problem and the damage to teeth and bone.


For booking or enquires call Sleep Services Australia on 1300 867 533 or email bookings@sleepservices.com.au