Teeth grinding (bruxism) which usually occurs subconsciously at night, causes wear facets on the biting surfaces of the teeth, flattening them and predisposing the tooth edges to chipping. It may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as sore or sensitive teeth, sore jaw and dull headaches. If it is severe, it results in a noticeable loss of vertical height from the teeth (see example below).
The causes of grinding vary case by case, with some common causes being stress, anxiety, an abnormal bite or even missing or crooked teeth. Because most of this wear is occurring while you sleep, your dentist may recommend a custom fitted night guard (see example below). The hard plastic guard protects the teeth from further wear and in many patients relieves pain from the jaws. As always, it is best to visit the dentist for the best advice in relation to your unique situation.