Teeth grinding is when you clench your top and bottom teeth together or grind your teeth back and forth over each other. Because it’s a subconscious muscle activity, most grinders grind without realizing it, until a fragmented tooth or facial soreness or other symptom occurs.
It is estimated that 10-15 percent of Americans moderately or severely grind their teeth. Normally, we exert about 20 to 30 pounds per square inch on our back molars when we chew. but teeth grinders, especially at night without restraint, can exert up to as much as 200 pounds per square inch on their teeth.
The relentless wear and tear at night from grinding can quickly erode enamel, fracture teeth, affect bite and damage the temporomandibular joint at the hinge of the jaw, and the masseter muscle, which controls the jaws. Jaw and face pain as well as earaches and headaches may also occur.
Having treated this condition for over thirty years, I’ve helped many night grinders eliminate their problems.
*Some information for this article was taken from NY Times article of October 2009: When Stress Takes a Toll on Your Teeth.