Grinding Could Be a Sign of Sleep Disorder


The technical term for grinding of the teeth is bruxism.” According to the Mayo Clinic, “bruxism is a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. If you have bruxism, you may unconsciously clench your teeth together during the day or grind them at night, which is called sleep bruxism.”

Bite Guards and Restoration Solutions

As a dentist, the first thought is to have a patient wear a bite guard when they sleep. The hope is that they will not wear their teeth down when they sleep, and the recession that is seen in grinders can be slowed down. If the wear is more significant, then restorative work may be needed, usually in the form of crowns. This can become quite extensive, requiring a full mouth rehabilitation.

Sleep Disorders

The main point of this article is to encourage patients to see a medical doctor to evaluate any sleep disorders and then treat them appropriately.

One disorder is Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). According to Wikipedia this is sleep disorder characterized by airway resistance to breathing during sleep. The primary symptoms include daytime sleepiness and excessive fatigue.

Another disorder is OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea). According to Wikipedia this is ”the most common type of sleep apnea and is caused by obstruction of the upper airway. It is characterized by repetitive pauses in breathing during sleep, despite the effort to breathe, and is usually associated with a reduction in blood oxygen saturation. These pauses in breathing, called “apneas” (literally, “without breath”), typically last 20 to 40 seconds.”

Of interest is a report in Science Daily that there is a high incidence of OSA and bruxism in the Caucasian population.

Sleep Evaluation

So, if a patient exhibits extreme tooth wear it is important to have a sleep evaluation in addition any dental work that may be needed.