Synonyms: Teeth grinding, Teeth clenching

Medical Specialties: Family practice, Internal medicine, Pediatrics

Clinical Definition

Bruxism is considered a type of movement disorder, which involves the unintentional act of clenching the jaw or vigorously grinding your teeth, usually during sleep. 

In Our Own Words

Bruxism is the medical term for grinding your teeth during sleep or unconsciously during stressful situations. Grinding involves sliding the teeth back and forth over each other repeatedly; some patients may also clench their jaws tightly.   

Continual tooth-grinding may result in eroded gums, loose teeth and loss of supporting bones in the mouth. Generally the diagnosis is suspected by observing wear and tear of the teeth during a dental exam. The grinding is not deliberate, and the patient is typically unaware it is occurring, but regular grinding may wear down your teeth and be noisy enough to bother sleeping partners at night. 

Relevant Conditions
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Stress
Side Effects
  • Jaw soreness
  • Headaches
  • Worn tooth enamel
Share this article
  • Ohio State University. Wexner Medical Center. “Bruxism.” Accessed July 2013.
  • University of Maryland Medical Center. “Bruxism: Causes, Incidence and Risk Factors.” Accessed July 2013.
  • American Dental Association. “Teeth Grinding.” Accessed July 2013.
Keep Reading

Investigate your bodys signs and signals.
Try Symptom Checker