Most people who suffer from bruxism, or teeth grinding, do so in their sleep due to crooked teeth, missing teeth or abnormal bites, according to WebMD. However, some instances of teeth grinding occur due to anxiety and stress.
Since teeth grinding generally occurs at night while the sufferer is sleeping, most people who have bruxism are not even aware that they have the condition unless a sleeping partner or other loved one observes it happening and tells them, as indicated by WebMD. Some symptoms of teeth grinding include sore jaws and a constant, dull headache. A dentist may also spot signs of the condition, such as abnormalities in the teeth or tenderness in the jaw.
While occasional grinding of the teeth may be harmless, regular grinding can cause complications that affect oral health. Chronic teeth grinding can cause loss of teeth, loosening of teeth and wearing down of teeth, necessitating the use of dentures, implants, root canals, crowns and bridges, warns WebMD. Additionally, the damage caused by grinding the teeth can affect the jaws and cause hearing loss, and it can bring on transmandibular jaw pain or TMJ. In severe cases, grinding the teeth can even alter the face's appearance. Treatment for teeth grinding usually involves protecting the teeth during sleep by wearing a special mouth guard, as stated by WebMD.