Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

bruxism image

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism (BRUK-siz-um) is a condition where you grind, gnash or clinch your teeth. If you have bruxism, you might unconsciously clench your teeth together throughout the day, or clench or grind them in the evening (sleep bruxism).

Sleep bruxism is thought about a sleep-related motion condition. Individuals who clench or grind their teeth (brux) during sleep are most likely to have other sleep disorders, such as snoring and pauses in breathing (sleep apnea).

Mild bruxism may not require treatment. However, in some individuals, bruxism can be frequent and severe adequate to lead to jaw conditions, headaches, damaged teeth and other issues.

Due to the fact that you might have sleep bruxism and be unaware of it till complications develop, it’s important to understand the symptoms and signs of bruxism and to seek regular dental care.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Symptoms

Symptoms and signs of bruxism may include:

  • Teeth grinding or clinching, which might be loud adequate to awaken your sleep partner
  • Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped or loose
  • Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Jaw or face pain or soreness
  • Exhausted or tight jaw muscles
  • Pain that seems like an earache, though it’s in fact not a problem with your ear
  • Dull headache coming from the temples
  • Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek
  • Indentations on your tongue

When to see a doctor

See your doctor or dental professional if:

  • Your teeth are used, damaged or sensitive
  • You have pain in your jaw, face or ear
  • Others complain that you make a grinding noise while you sleep
  • You have a locked jaw that will not open or close totally

If you see that your child is grinding his or her teeth– or has other signs or symptoms of bruxism– make certain to mention it at your child’s next dental appointment.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Causes

Doctors don’t completely comprehend what causes bruxism. Possible physical or psychological causes may consist of:

  • Feelings, such as stress and anxiety, stress, anger, frustration or tension
  • Aggressive, competitive or hyperactive character type
  • Abnormal positioning of upper and lower teeth (malocclusion).
  • Other sleep problems, such as sleep apnea.
  • Reaction to pain from an earache or teething (in children).
  • Stomach acid reflux into the esophagus.
  • An uncommon side effect of some psychiatric medications, such as phenothiazines or particular antidepressants.
  • A coping strategy or focusing practice.
  • Complication resulting from a disorder such as Huntington’s disease or Parkinson’s disease.

Risk factors

These aspects increase your risk of bruxism:

  • Stress. Increased stress and anxiety or stress can lead to teeth grinding. So can anger and aggravation.
  • Age. Bruxism prevails in children, however it typically disappears by the teenager years.
  • Personality type. Having a personality type that is aggressive, competitive or hyperactive can increase your risk of bruxism.
  • Stimulating compounds. Smoking tobacco, drinking caffeinated drinks or alcohol, or taking illegal drugs such as methamphetamine or Ecstasy might increase the risk of bruxism.


In many cases, bruxism does not cause serious complications. However severe bruxism may result in:.

  • Damage to your teeth, restorations, crowns or jaw.
  • Tension-type headaches.
  • Facial pain.
  • Disorders that occur in the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), located simply in front of your ears, which might seem like clicking when you open and close your mouth.

Bruxism: Tests and diagnosis

During routine dental exams, your dental expert likely will look for signs of bruxism. If you have any signs, your dental practitioner will look for changes in your teeth and mouth over the next several check outs to see if the procedure is progressive and to identify whether you require treatment.

If your dental practitioner thinks that you have bruxism, he or she will aim to identify its bring on by asking concerns about your general dental health, medications, day-to-day regimens and sleep practices.

To evaluate the extent of bruxism, your dental expert might look for:.

  • Tenderness in your jaw muscles.
  • Obvious dental problems, such as busted or missing teeth or poor tooth alignment.
  • Damage to your teeth, the underlying bone and the within your cheeks, usually with the aid of X-rays.

A dental test may spot other conditions that can cause comparable jaw or ear pain, such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, other dental problems or an ear infection.

If your dental practitioner thinks a significant mental component to your teeth grinding or a sleep-related condition, you might be referred to a specialist, counselor or sleep specialist. A sleep expert might perform more tests, such as assessment for sleep apnea, video monitoring and measuring how often your jaw muscles tighten while you sleep.

Treatment for Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Oftentimes, treatment isn’t really necessary. Many kids grow out of bruxism without treatment, and many adults do not grind or clinch their teeth severely enough to need therapy. However, if the issue is severe, treatment choices include particular dental methods, treatments and medications. Speak to your doctor about what might work best for you.

Dental methods

If you or your child has bruxism, your doctor may recommend ways to maintain or enhance your teeth. Although these techniques may avoid or remedy the wear to your teeth, they may not stop the bruxism:.

  • Splints and mouth guards. These are designed to keep teeth separated to avoid the damage triggered by clenching and grinding. They can be created of difficult acrylic or soft products and fit over your upper or lower teeth.
  • Dental correction. Remedying teeth that aren’t properly lined up might help if your bruxism appears to be connected to dental problems. In severe cases– when tooth wear has resulted in sensitivity or the inability to chew correctly– your dental professional may need to reshape the chewing surfaces of your teeth or use crowns. In certain cases, your dental practitioner may recommend braces or dental surgery.


Certain treatments may assist eliminate bruxism, such as:

  • Stress management. If you grind your teeth due to the fact that of stress, you might have the ability to avoid the problem with professional therapy or methods that promote relaxation, such as exercise or meditation.
  • Behavior modification. When you find that you have bruxism, you may have the ability to change the habits by practicing correct mouth and jaw position. Ask your dental expert to show you the best position for your mouth and jaw.
  • Biofeedback. If you’re having a tough time altering your routines, you may gain from biofeedback, a type of complementary medication that uses monitoring procedures and devices to teach you to manage muscle activity in your jaw.

Teeth Grinding & Medications

In general, medications aren’t extremely effective for treatment of bruxism, and more research is had to determine their efficiency. Examples of medications that may be used for bruxism include:.

Muscle relaxants. Sometimes, your doctor may suggest taking a muscle relaxant before bedtime, for a short period of time.
OnabotulinumtoxinA (Botox) injections. Botox injections might help some individuals with severe bruxism who don’t respond to other treatments.

If you establish bruxism as a side effect of a medication, your doctor may alter your medication or recommend a different one.

Lifestyle and home treatments

These self-care steps might avoid or assist relieve bruxism:

  • Minimize stress. Taking a warmer bath or working out can help you unwind and may decrease your risk of establishing bruxism.
  • Prevent promoting substances at night. Don’t drink caffeinated coffee or caffeinated tea after dinner, and avoid alcohol and cigarette smoking, as they might aggravate bruxism.
  • Practice excellent sleep routines. Getting a good night’s sleep, which might consist of treatment for sleep issues, might help in reducing bruxism.
  • Speak to your sleep partner. If you have a sleeping partner, ask them to be familiar with any grinding or clicking sounds that you may make while sleeping so that you can report this to your doctor.
  • Schedule routine dental tests. Dental tests are the best way to identify bruxism. Your dental practitioner can spot signs of bruxism in your mouth and jaw with routine sees and tests.



Updated: August 5, 2016 — 7:37 am

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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