A lot of people grind their teeth, not just in anger or frustration, but a pathological continous grinding that occurs mostly during the night while they are asleep. This is a condition known as Bruxism and people who suffer from bruxism are called bruxers.

Most bruxers dont even know that they are bruxers. When asked if they grind their teeth they will in all probability answer in the negative. The only people who would know (if at all) would be the person who sleeps next to them, the spouse perhaps, and that too only if they are light sleepers. If the spouse is easily awakened then many a time they are aware that a funny irritating clicking grinding sound is coming from the wife/husband at night. 

Most people ignore this and even if told that they probably are bruxers they feel, "Big deal! so I grind my teeth. What's that got to do with anything?" Actually - a lot. 

The signs of trouble may take a while in coming but come they will. Almost certainly. Unless your teeth and jaws are made of iron which they aren't. Maybe if you were a terminator but not otherwise. 

Given a sufficient period of time without correct intervention you could end up with:

  • worn down teeth
  • chipped teeth
  • fractured teeth
  • sensitivity with your teeth
  • pain in the jaws/joints
  • muscular pain in your cheeks 

What's more even if you get restorations done and do not attempt to correct the original problem - the bruxism will even wear down restorations/crowns/bridges.

Lots of factors are responsible for the beginning of bruxism:
  • High stress levels
  • sleep disorders
  • any kind of teeth maloccusion where teeth do not meet in harmony
  • use of certain drugs
These and many other factors may be causing or aggravating the condition. 

Bruxism is not completely understood. Neither is its treatment totally straightforward. What is definite though that the teeth and the jaws need to be protected from further trauma. It is not enough to just restore the broken, chipped teeth.

All patients of bruxism must wear nightguards/mouthguards. These are basically acrylic forms that are specific to each patient's dentition. The patient simple has to slip it on while sleeping at night. There is no pain involved and no complicated wearing procedure. This simple treatment protects the teeth from wear and tear throughout the night. 

Besides the mouthguard, the doctor will recommend some restorations if necessary. But a change in lifestyle and decreasing stress levels will certainly help.

Find out what is causing your stress and get rid of it. Of course not all reasons for stress can be gotten rid of. Your husband's incessant cricket mania and your wife's latest credit card bill are some of them :)

Do not ignore your dental problems. They don't go away. They may go into hibernation for a while and then they get worse.