Bruxism can be defined as the grinding of teeth for non-functional purposes. Some authors refer to nocturnal grinding as bruxism while the term bruxomania is given for grinding during the day time.
History and clinical examination in most cases is sufficient to diagnose bruxism. Occlusal prematurities can be diagnosed by use of articulating papers. Electromyographic examination can be carried out to check for hyperactivity of the muscles of mastication.
Many cases of bruxism are associated with emotional and psychological disturbances. Thus appropriate psychological counseling by a psychiatrist may be initiated. Hypnosis, relaxing exercise and massage can help in relieving muscle tension. Occlusal adjustments have to carried out to eliminate prematurities. Night guards or other occlusal splints that cover the occlusal surfaces of teeth help in eliminating occlusal interference, prevent occlusal wear and break the neuromuscular adaptation.
If clenching leads to jaw pain, this in turn can lead to insomnia, depression, and eating disorders. Clenching and grinding can worsen existing dental or TMJ problems. Nightly grinding can awaken roommates and sleeping partners.