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Bruxism: The Grind of the Matter

Course Number: 485


Malocclusion, or bad bite, is more common among bruxers than in the general population. Misaligned teeth may serve as the cause of bruxism, not as its consequence. When bruxism involves more pressure on one side than on the other, it then becomes the cause of malocclusion.37 As the teeth wear down and the distance between the jaws decreases, overclosure may develop. Overclosure causes the anterior maxillary teeth to close in front of the anterior mandibular teeth, causing the vertical dimension to collapse.39

If occlusion is the cause of bruxism, orthodontics is the treatment of choice. Malocclusion is the main cause of bruxism in children and adolescents. The mixed dentition stage is a prime time for bruxism to occur. In a mixed dentition, the permanent teeth are larger than the primary teeth and may have erupted malaligned. This eruption or partial eruption may cause crowding and displacement of teeth, making it natural for the mind to want the teeth to be in centric occlusion.37