How do I stop grinding my teeth in my sleep?

How do I stop grinding my teeth in my sleep?

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4 minute read

Teeth Grinding during Sleep

The medical term for clenching or grinding teeth during sleep is sleep bruxism, also known as nocturnal teeth grinding. A type of movement disorder that occurs during sleep, teeth Grinding is a common condition-one survey reports that 8% of adults grind their teeth at night and one study indicates that more than a third of parents experience bruxism symptoms in their children. Occasional teeth grinding may not be dangerous but it can be associated with mild to serious dental injury, facial pain and disrupted sleep when it happens frequently.(1)

1- Causes:

There is a possibility of both mental and physical factors responsible for teeth grinding during sleep, mental factors include stress, anxiety, depression, pain etc but the physical factors are prevalent which include:

  • People with misaligned teeth or abnormal jaw alignment are more likely to experience bruxism. 
  • Incorrect or unnecessary dental restorations can also lead to bruxism. 
  • Other local factors that may pave the way for teeth grinding include occlusal trauma or periodontal injury, periodontal calculus buildup, deformed lips, loose teeth and gingival overgrowth around the teeth (gingival hyperplasia).(2)

2- Signs:

Several signs involve cracking sounds from the mouth while asleep, sudden or repetitive breaking or fracturing in the patient's mouth, of teeth and existing restorative work which includes crowns, veneers and fillings.(3)

3- Indications: 

A severe case of teeth grinding can result in progressive dental damage, which may make your teeth structurally weakened, worn out and extremely sensitive. 

In addition, excessive grinding of the teeth can leave your jaw painfully sore that you can not chew properly without having a great deal of discomfort. 

People who have such complaints are usually referred to a dentist to undo the damage to the tooth. The repair usually involves reshaping the teeth's chewing surfaces or inserting dental crowns to mend the damage.(4)

4- Solution:

Wearing a custom teeth night guard is the safest way to secure the teeth and avoid tooth damage and fracture. Different names of these devices include teeth splints, occlusal bite guards, night guards, bite guards, dental night guards, teeth mouth guards, and bruxism guards. These are specially designed, custom-made plastic mouthpieces that fit over your top or bottom teeth. Wearing one of these appliances will reduce muscle pain in the jaw and protect your teeth as well as your TM joint. Typically the devices are worn at bedtime, and are considered the treatment of choice.

Some medications are also  commonly prescribed to reduce teeth grinding while sleeping which include: 

  • Muscle relaxants: Short-term use of muscle relaxants may be prescribed by your doctor, typically administered at night time to minimize excessive muscle movement and sleep spasticity. 

Anxiety or stress medication: Your doctor may put you on a short course of antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications to cope with stress or other emotional symptoms that may be responsible for your bruxism.   (5)


1- Firmani, M., Reyes, M., Becerra, N., Flores, G., Weitzman, M., & Espinosa, P. (2015). Bruxismo de sueño en niños y adolescentes [Sleep bruxism in children and adolescents]. Revista chilena de pediatria, 86(5), 373–379.  HYPERLINK ""

2- Camoin, A., Tardieu, C., Blanchet, I., & Orthlieb, J. D. (2017). Le bruxisme du sommeil chez l’enfant [Sleep bruxism in children]. Archives de pediatrie : organe officiel de la Societe francaise de pediatrie, 24(7), 659–666.  HYPERLINK ""

3- Klasser, G. D., Rei, N., & Lavigne, G. J. (2015). Sleep bruxism etiology: the evolution of a changing paradigm. Journal (Canadian Dental Association), 81, f2.

4- Lobbezoo, F., Ahlberg, J., Raphael, K. G., Wetselaar, P., Glaros, A. G., Kato, T., Santiago, V., Winocur, E., De Laat, A., De Leeuw, R., Koyano, K., Lavigne, G. J., Svensson, P., & Manfredini, D. (2018). International consensus on the assessment of bruxism: Report of a work in progress. Journal of oral rehabilitation, 45(11), 837–844.  HYPERLINK ""

5- Beddis, H., Pemberton, M., & Davies, S. (2018). Sleep bruxism: an overview for clinicians. British dental journal, 225(6), 497–501.

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