Bruxism is excessive teeth grinding and jaw clenching. It is an oral parafunctional activity; i.e., it is unrelated to normal function such as eating or talking. Bruxism is a common problem; reports of prevalence range from 8–31% in the general population. Several symptoms are commonly associated with bruxism, including hypersensitive teeth, aching jaw muscles, headaches, tooth wear, damage to dental restorations (e.g. crowns and fillings) and damage to teeth. However it may cause minimal symptoms, and therefore people may not be aware of the condition.
There are two main types of bruxism: that which occurs during sleep (sleep bruxism) and that which occurs during wakefulness (awake bruxism). Dental damage may be similar in both types, but the symptoms of sleep bruxism tend to be worst on waking and improve during the course of the day, and the symptoms of awake bruxism may not be present at all on waking, and then worsen over the day. The causes of bruxism are not completely understood, but probably involve multiple factors. Awake bruxism is thought to have different causes from sleep bruxism, and is more common in females, whereas males and females are affected in equal proportions by sleep bruxism. Several treatments are in use, although there is little evidence of robust efficacy for any particular treatment.
n. The habit or practice of grinding of the teeth, as while sleeping, or due to stress or certain drugs.
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
"grinding the teeth unconsciously," from Greek ebryxa, aorist root of brykein "to gnash the teeth."
n. involuntarily or unconsciously clenching or grinding the teeth, typically during sleep
Usage examples of "bruxism".
He claimed he was a sufferer of bruxism and that he ground his teeth mercilessly in his sleep.