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Teeth Grinding Explained

Symptoms of Teeth Grinding

Considering that grinding your teeth can put as much as 250 pounds of pressure on them (as opposed to the 20 to 40 pounds you exert while chewing), and that nocturnal bruxers grind up to 40 minutes of every hour while they sleep, tooth damage from grinding isn't hard to imagine [source: Anderson]. In fact, in addition to cracking and chipping teeth, bruxers can wear away their enamel 10 times faster than non-grinders [source: Sweeney]. Even if the teeth of a grinder can stand up to the extreme abuse that comes from grinding, chances are that they will eventually become more sensitive as a result of the action. Swollen gums may also result.

Not only do the teeth and gums suffer from grinding, but the face and jaw can experience pain as well. Grinding engages the masseter muscle (the largest in the head), which can become aggravated from the continuing stress, causing headaches or earaches. Additionally, problems with the temporomandibular joint, known as TMJ, can also develop from bruxism.