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Teeth Grinding/Bruxism: Statistics, Symptoms, Risks, and Treatment Options

August 18th, 2009 · No Comments

shutterstock_14476642The etymology of “bruxism” stems from the Greek work brychein, which literally means gnashing of teeth. As the most comprehensive online resource available,  Dr. Moti Nissani’s research and findings tell us that about 5-20% of Americans suffer with teeth grinding, yet only 80% are aware of the condition. Many people grind their teeth while sleeping, though this is not always the case.

According to, the two primary causes of bruxism are stress and age. Regarding stress, high stress, anger, and frustration can cause teeth clenching or grinding. As far as age, young children often brux, but they tend to grow out of it. Neuromuscular dentists would place TMJ disorder as a primary cause, as well, in that misaligned jaw joints cause stress on muscles and nerves, which results in bruxing – though Mayo Clinic does list TMJ disorder under complications caused by bruxing.

The site also lists symptoms ranging from grinding loud enough to awaken a sleeping partner to tooth wear, sensitivity, headache, face pain, earache, and others. Controlling bruxism can be based on behavior changes and stress relief exercises, correcting teeth misalignment with orthodontics or equilibration, or wearing an oral splint.

Data on the number of people who suffer from bruxism varies greatly:

  • study found 8.2% of 13,057 participants 15 and younger were bruxers.
  • Benchmark Dental Lab claims that up to 50% of Americans are bruxers.
  • SLP (Bitestrip) says that 14-20% of children, and 8% of adults in the US have bruxism.
  • Health Day stated that up to 40 million Americans brux, and 10% of those are prone to tooth damage as a result.


Dentists and patients have a plethora of oral splints to choose from when it comes to treating bruxism. The appliances are called by the names nightguards, stressguards, teeth grinding guards, dental guards, occlusal guards, and others. In many cases, dentists create custom bruxism guards onsite or through a dental lab. Patients may also buy boil-and-bite or one-size-fits-all guards over the counter. Here are a few brands, with websites for reference:

If you find that splint therapy does not work for a patient, other options exist. A comprehensive article by Moti Nissani, PhD, “When the Splint Fails: Non-Traditional Approaches to the Treatment of Bruxism,” can be found here.


StressGard Night Guard provided some information for this article. The company’s press release follows…
TotalGard Corp. a company based out of Massachusetts and New Jersey, offers the StressGard Night Guard for people that suffer from teeth grinding, bruxism, and teeth clenching. The StressGard® Night Guard was designed by Dr. James Bancroft to provide the most cost effective simple solution for the millions of adults who grind and clench their teeth.The StressGard® provides a cushion between your upper and lower teeth thus helping to protect them from the harmful effects of grinding and clenching. Compare the StressGard® to any and all of the other night guards and we believe you will find the StressGard® to be the most cost effective, easiest to use and comfortable Night Guard available. TotalGard is in the business of helping people who suffer from teeth grinding, teeth clenching, and bruxism.

Bruxism (teeth grinding) is the involuntary grinding or clenching of the teeth. This is a subconscious behavior done mainly while one sleeps. Bruxism can generate tremendous force on the teeth causing broken teeth, loose fillings and loss of tooth enamel. Bruxing can also cause teeth to become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and liquids. More often than not, the leading cause of teeth grinding is stress. Everyday stress and tensions from our fast pace lifestyles are the leading causes of teeth grinding. Fortunately most of this is temporary and episodal.

The StressGard® is ideal and will help you get through these times of grinding. The StressGard® does not require boiling or molding to fit, and is a one size fits all. The StressGard® Night Guard is uniquely designed by an orthodontist with a patented flexible groove to help you deal with the daily stress and tension that may cause you to clench and grind. Simply place the StressGard® between the upper teeth and lip and the bite tabs between your upper and lower teeth. It can also be used on your lower teeth. Simply flip the StressGard® over and place between your lower lip and bottom teeth and once again the bite tabs between your upper and lower teeth.



Chest Journal



Health Day

Moti Nissani

Tags: Clinical · Dental Materials

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