A Guide to Teeth Grinding/ Bruxism: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

A Guide to Teeth Grinding/ Bruxism

Teeth grinding, gnashing, or clenching is known as bruxism (BRUK-siz-um). If you suffer from bruxism, you may clench your teeth either while awake (awake bruxism) or during sleep (sleep bruxism) .

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep bruxism is a sleep-related movement disorder. 

People grinding or clenching their teeth (brux) when falling asleep. It can be a possible outcome of other sleep problems such as pauses in breathing (sleep apnea) and snoring (Parasomnias). 

Mild bruxism does not usually require treatment. On the other hand, Bruxism can be frequent and severe enough in some people to cause jaw issues, headaches, damaged teeth, and other problems.

Because you could have sleep bruxism and not be aware of it until it causes problems, it's critical to understand the indications and symptoms of bruxism and seek frequent dental treatment.

Teeth Grinding

Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?

Stress and worry could be the possible reason for teeth grinding. However, it is also correlated with crooked or missing teeth or abnormal biting habits. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea are also correlated with teeth grinding .

Causes:

Doctors are uncertain about the reasons for bruxism, but it may be caused by various physical, psychological, and hereditary factors.

  • Awake bruxism might be caused by feelings such as anxiety, stress, fury, frustration, or tension. It may also be a coping method for dealing with profound attention.
  • Sleep bruxism is a sleep-related chewing habit that occurs with sleep arousal. 
  • Problems with gums, restorations and crowns.
  • Tension headaches are among the most common types of headaches.
  • Itching is one of the most common problems people experience.
  • The temporomandibular joints (TMJs) are prone to cracking while opening or closing the mouth. These are located near the ears. 

Risk factors:

These factors increase your risk of bruxism:

  • Stress. Teeth grinding is another sign of anxiety and stress. Anger and aggravation are also causes of worry.
  • Age. Bruxism is frequently seen in young children, but it usually fades with time.
  • Personality type. Individuals that are hyperactive, aggressive or competitive are likely to suffer from Bruxism.
  • Medications and other substances. Bruxism may be caused by various conditions or medicines, including several antidepressants. Cigarette smoking, caffeinated beverages, alcoholic drinks, and recreational drugs increase the likelihood of bruxism.
  • Family members with bruxism. Bruxism has been linked to certain mental illnesses, including anxiety and depression. If you suffer from bruxism, likely, other family members do as well.
  • Other disorders. Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, dementia, GERD, night terrors, sleep-related disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sleep apnea are linked to bruxism.

Complications

In most situations, bruxism does not have serious consequences. However, severe bruxism occasionally causes more severe problems.

Symptoms and signs

Signs and symptoms of bruxism may include:

  • Teeth clenching or gnashing that is loud to wake up your sleeping spouse
  • Chipped, flattened, loose, or fractured teeth
  • Exposed deeper layers of tooth enamel, as evidenced by worn tooth enamel.
  • Are you experiencing tooth discomfort or sensitivity?
  • The lower teeth might be too long, causing discomfort and blockage. Alternatively, the upper teeth may be significantly shorter than the bottom teeth. A stiff or a tight jaw muscle, or a clamped mouth that won't open or close properly
  • Pain or soreness in the neck, jaw or face
  • Even if you realize it's not an ear infection, the pain that feels like an earache is probably due to a problem with your ear.
  • Starting in the temples, a dull headache develops.
  • Chewing on the inside of your cheek can cause damage.
  • Sleep disruption 
discomfort or sensitivity

    Why Is Teeth Grinding Harmful?

    While the moderate teeth grinding does not affect you much. But if it is not addressed in time, it may turn chronic. Chronic Teeth Grinding can lead to loosening, breakage or even loss of teeth. 

    The continuous grinding often leads to worn out teeth to stumps. If any of these events occur, you need to consider root canals, bridge construction, implants and even require complete dentures.

    Grinding can not only harm teeth and lead to tooth loss, but it may also affect your jaws, cause or exacerbate TMD/TMJ symptoms, and even alter the shape of your face.

    What Can I Do to Stop Grinding My Teeth?

    Your dentist can provide you with a mouthguard to safeguard your teeth from grinding while sleeping.

    Get a Nighttime Mouth Guard

    The enamel on your teeth can be worn down by constant grinding, making them more prone to cavities. 

    Fortunately, sleeping with a mouth guard will safeguard your teeth. A custom mouth guard that our dentist can fit you for will protect your teeth while you sleep.

    The guard that is most comfortable for you will be custom-made instead of the one-size-fits-all store models that may not fit as well. One of the most acceptable ways to avoid sleep bruxism is to use a mouth guard throughout the night consistently (Nightmares).

    Start Exercising

    Include a few sweat sessions into your weekly schedule if you don't exercise. Granite or quartz is used to grind and polish teeth, removing stains and bad odours. Exercise will alleviate tension, which can cause bruxism.

    Relax Right Before Bed

    Before you go to sleep, all of the tension in your jaw must be released. Try one or more of the following techniques to unwind:

    • Taking a warm bath before bed helps in relaxing the jaw muscles.
    • A wet towel for your jaw or a heating pad could help in relaxing your jaw
    • Warm-up your mouth with a caffeine-free drink or herbal tea.

    Massage Your Jaw Muscles

    Do you feel your jaw clench in reaction to a stressful event during the day? If so, relax your face and massage your jaw muscles. Rubbing will relieve tension that has built up throughout the day.

     Massage Your Jaw Muscles

    Become More Conscious of Your Clenching

    You may grind your teeth for hours and not realize it. To help you relax and let go of tension, practice mindfulness several times a day. 

    You'll start to notice certain situations or times of day when your teeth grinding is more prominent.

    Stop it by lowering your jaw and letting it dangle for a second if you detect it is happening. Move it softly at first, then attempt to keep a more relaxed jaw position.

    Stop Chewing Everything but Food

    Do you guzzle gum throughout the day? Do you enjoy chewing ice while working? Even if your favourite vice is cap-chewing, you must cease these continual motions, which will tighten your jaw.

    Avoid Chewy Foods

    Cut out steak, popcorn, and taffy on days when your bruxism is acting up. These meals need a lot of chewing and will put additional strain on your jaw.

    When the stress makes you grind your teeth, refer to the doctor to suggest teeth grinding techniques. Seeing a physical therapist, starting an exercise program or taking a muscle relaxant can help you in relieving the stress.

    Treatment - Consult your dentist

    In most situations, treatment isn't required. It is often seen that children are often able to overcome the bruxism without any medication or other treatment. 

    But Bruxism in adults is a serious concern. They may require therapy or treatment after identifying the root cause.

    However, if the problem is severe, several dentistry procedures, therapies, and medications may be used to prevent additional tooth damage and alleviate jaw discomfort or pain.

    Consult your dentist to understand which treatment option can work for you.

    Dental approaches

    Most dentists advise preserving the teeth when you or your child has bruxism issues. Although these techniques are not effective in stopping bruxism yet they are relevant to consider for preventing your teeth against any damage due to bruxism.

    • Splints and mouth guards. By keeping the teeth apart, mouth guards and splints help in preventing the damage caused by clenching and grinding. They come in various materials, including hard acrylic and soft plastics, and they can fit over either your top or bottom teeth.
    • Dental correction. In difficult situations, your dentist may need to reforge the chewing surfaces of your teeth or employ crowns to restore the harm caused by tooth wear.
    Dental approaches

      Other approaches

      One or more of these approaches may help relieve bruxism:

      • Stress or anxiety management. Meditations are one of the effective remedies to treat anxiety and help you with bruxism. A therapist or counsellor with expertise in treating anxiety issues may be able to assist if bruxism is associated with worry.
      • Behaviour change. You can change bruxism behaviour by practising the correct mouth and jaw position once you've determined that you have it. You may take the help of your dentist to know the ideal posture for your mouth and jaw.
      • Biofeedback. You can also use neuromuscular electrical stimulation to teach your jaw muscles how to relax. Biofeedback, a technique that uses monitoring methods and equipment to instruct you in controlling jaw muscle activity, might be beneficial if you're having difficulties changing your habits.

      Medications

      In general, medications for bruxism are ineffective, and more study is required to determine their efficacy. Medicines that may be used for bruxism include:

      • Muscle relaxants. Your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant for a short time before bedtime in some situations.
      • Botox injections. Botox Injections are a type of botulinum toxin used for people with severe bruxism who don't respond to other treatments.
      • Medication for anxiety or stress. When your dentist recommends that you temporarily take antidepressants or anti-anxiety medicines, it's usually to assist you with stress or other emotional difficulties that contribute to your teeth grinding.

      Treating associated disorders

      Treatment for associated disorders may include:

      • Medications. If you have bruxism as a side effect of your medicine, your doctor may alter your medication or prescribe a new one.
      • Sleep-related disorders. Sleep bruxism can be reduced by addressing sleep-related problems such as sleep apnea.
      • Medical conditions. Treating an underlying medical condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), might help reduce bruxism.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Are teeth grinding a sign of some deficiency?

      Vitamin D and calcium deficiency were linked to sleep bruxism, anxiety, and depression. Additional research is needed to see if vitamin D and calcium supplementation can help with sleep bruxism.

      How Do I Find Out if I Grind My Teeth?

      Most individuals are unaware that they grind their teeth while sleeping. A sore jaw or constant headache that wakes you up indicates bruxism.

      People suffering from bruxism might not notice it but their partners can.

      For all the concerns about grinding your teeth, it is important to see your dentist. 

      They can check your mouth and jaw to identify the indicators of bruxism, such as discomfort in the jaw or tooth wear.

      Conclusion

      Teeth grinding is caused by a variety of factors. It can occur during everyday activities or as a response to stress or anxiety. Bruxism is often associated with other physical or mental health problems. Treatment options vary depending on the cause.


      Recent blog posts

      View all
      Example blog post
      Example blog post
      Example blog post