The habit of clenching/grinding one's jaw sometimes referred to as bruxism, is widespread throughout the world. 

It involves unconsciously clamping the jaw and grinding the teeth, frequently when sleeping or under stress. 

bruxism teeth grinding symptoms causes treatment

The quality of our sleep, general wellness, and oral health may all suffer as a result of this repetitive activity. 

We will explore the many facets of jaw clenching in this blog post, including its causes, symptoms, effects, and preventative and management strategies.

What is Bruxism?

When a person clenches or grinds their teeth without chewing, it is called bruxism. 

The action frequently takes place when the person is asleep, and they are frequently unaware of it. 

The development of teeth, an improper bite, stress, as well as several neurological and other diseases, are among the causes.

When someone grinds their teeth, they chew while moving their teeth against one another. 

When someone clenches their muscles without moving their teeth back and forth, they are clenching their teeth together.

People can grind or clench their teeth during the day or night.

Sleep Bruxism

Sleep Bruxism is a type of sleep disorder. Enlisted below are the symptoms of sleep bruxism that people might notice while they are awake-

  • Facial pain

  • Jaw pain and stiffness

  • A dull headache accompanied by clicking, snapping, or grinding sounds when moving the jaw

  • Worn out or damaged teeth uncomfortable, loose, or fractured fillings

Due to the proximity of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which opens and closes the jaw, people may also feel earache. 

People may also have referred to pain, which is when pain is experienced away from its origin.

Even though those who clench or grind their teeth while they sleep frequently can't feel it, those who sleep close by may be able to hear the noise it makes.

Awake Bruxism

Awake bruxism is an unconscious habit. Awake bruxism often doesn't cause teeth grinding. Instead, individuals are more prone to clenching their teeth or tense the jaw muscles. 

Additionally, bruxism when awake results in stiffness, dull headaches, and jaw soreness. However, in cases where there is no grinding, the condition may not wear the teeth in the same way.

Bruxism that occurs while awake also occurs unintentionally. People may find that while they are worried or trying to concentrate, they are more susceptible to it.

Bruxism (Teeth Grinding) Symptoms

Are you waking up with a sore jaw or experiencing unexplained tooth sensitivity?

It could be a sign of bruxism, a common dental condition where you grind, gnash, or clench your teeth unconsciously. 

Don't worry; you're not alone, and there are ways to manage it effectively. Let's take a look at the common symptoms of bruxism:

1. Teeth Sensitivity: 

Do your teeth feel more sensitive than usual, especially to hot or cold temperatures? Bruxism can cause enamel wear, making your teeth vulnerable to sensitivity.

2. Jaw Pain and Tension: 

Experience discomfort or tension in your jaw muscles? Grinding your teeth puts excessive pressure on your jaw, leading to pain and tightness.

3. Headaches: 

Frequent headaches, particularly in the temples or around the sides of your head, may be a result of bruxism-induced muscle tension.

4. Earaches: 

Surprisingly, teeth grinding can also cause referred pain in the ears, leading to unexplained earaches.

5. Chipped or Fractured Teeth: 

Over time, bruxism can cause dental damage, including chipped or fractured teeth, which may require dental intervention.

6. Sleep Disturbances: 

If you or your partner notice loud teeth-grinding noises during sleep, it might be a sign of bruxism, which can also disrupt your sleep patterns.

7. Worn Tooth Enamel: 

Dentists can detect signs of bruxism by examining the wear patterns on your tooth enamel.

8. Cheek and Tongue Biting: 

Frequent grinding can lead to accidental biting of the cheeks and tongue, causing sores and discomfort.

9. Facial Pain and Fatigue: 

Bruxism can contribute to facial pain and muscle fatigue, especially upon waking up in the morning.

10. Tension in Neck and Shoulders: 

The tension from teeth grinding can extend beyond the jaw, leading to discomfort in the neck and shoulder area.

If you notice any of these symptoms persistently, it's essential to consult your dentist. 

They can assess the severity of your bruxism and recommend appropriate treatment options to alleviate discomfort and prevent further dental issues.

Remember, managing stress, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, and using a mouthguard at night are some of the steps you can take to address bruxism effectively. 

Your smile is precious, so take care of it, and your dental health will thank you for it!

What Causes Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)?

There may be a number of underlying factors for jaw clenching. As the body frequently exhibits tension and strain in the jaw, stress and worry are frequently major causes. 

Additionally, certain drugs, sleep disorders, and misaligned teeth can cause bruxism.

Primary Bruxism 

Primary bruxism occurs on its own and is not related to any other condition

1. Growing teeth:

Bruxism may be common in young children often when their teeth are growing. 

However, because the jaw and teeth develop quickly in children, bruxism typically goes away on its own without causing any long-term harm.

2. Misaligned bite

In some persons, bruxism may occur as a result of either an inconsistent bite or missing teeth. Grinding or clenching may also be caused by oral irritation.

3. Stress

Whether it happens while an adult is awake or asleep, stress is one of the main causes of bruxism. 

There is a strong correlation between stress and bruxism, according to some studies, but further study is required to fully comprehend the connection.

4. Unhealthy Lifestyle Habits:

Bad lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs, and taking too much coffee can also cause teeth grinding. 

The actions of your heart and brain are adversely affected by these practices.

Secondary Bruxism:

Secondary bruxism occurs due to another medical condition or situation

1. Mental health conditions:

Depression and anxiety are linked to bruxism as mental health disorders. Stress, which can exacerbate these disorders, may be partially to blame for this link.

2. Neurological disorders: 

Movement during sleep may be a symptom of disorders including Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease.

3. Medications: 

Some antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs, as well as some others, might cause bruxism as a side effect. 

A 2018 investigation discovered a connection between bruxism and selective serotonin reuptake medications (SSRIs). 

Out of the medicines examined, fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft) were the most frequently implicated.

4. Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a disorder that impairs breathing while you're asleep. 

It may be a risk factor for bruxism since it can affect the quantity and quality of sleep and lead to frequent awakenings. 

Sleep apnea can cause teeth grinding or clenching by interfering with sleep.

Bruxism (Teeth Grinding) Diagnosis

A dental examination by a dentist can identify bruxism. They might observe:

  • Deteriorated tooth enamel, 

  • Loose or damaged crowns and fillings, 

  • Flattened, broken, or chipped teeth, and 

  • Swollen jaw muscles

Overly aggressive brushing, toothpaste abrasives, acidic soft beverages, and hard foods can also cause tooth wear, but a skilled professional can distinguish between the distinct wear patterns caused by each cause.

Bruxism (Teeth Grinding) Treatment Options

Dental appliances are important in the management of bruxism. 

Night guards or splints: 

These are customized devices that are worn while you sleep. They are made to act as a buffer between the upper and lower teeth, reducing clenching or grinding against one another. 

Dental appliances assist alleviate the symptoms and shield the teeth from accelerated wear and damage by absorbing and spreading the forces produced by jaw clenching. 

Additionally, these devices can ease jaw clenching-related pain and discomfort by relaxing the jaw muscles and easing pressure on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). 

It is important to consult with a dentist or a dental professional to determine the most suitable dental appliance for individual needs and ensure proper fit and effectiveness in managing jaw clenching.

Braces and Aligners: 

Both are a tried-and-true solution to cure malocclusion, which may be the cause of your teeth grinding. In order to realign misaligned teeth, these orthodontic appliances gradually exert pressure.

Some other therapies such as stress management techniques, cognitive behavioural therapy and certain medications that help reduce muscle activity can also be explored. Botox is also used in severe bruxism cases.

Impact of Teeth Grinding on Dental Health & Tips for Prevention

Numerous dental issues can result from teeth grinding and clenching on a regular basis. The enamel of the teeth gradually erodes as a result of constant friction, which is one of the main impacts. 

This may lead to greater dental sensitivity, a higher risk of cavities, or even broken or fractured teeth. The teeth's shape and look may change as a result of wear and tear over time. 

In addition to wearing down the jaw muscles and inflaming the joint, bruxism can also result in TMJ issues. 

Furthermore, the high forces generated by jaw clenching might alter the position of teeth, sometimes necessitating orthodontic treatment. 

In order to maintain dental health and prevent long-term consequences, jaw clenching must be addressed.

To prevent these complications, it's important to maintain good oral hygiene practices and visit the dentist regularly. 

Additionally, using a mouthguard or splint can help protect the teeth and reduce the impact of grinding during sleep. 

Avoiding hard foods, excessive caffeine, and alcohol can also contribute to minimizing jaw clenching.

Seeking Professional Help: When to Consult a Dentist or Physician

If bruxism persists despite self-care efforts, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional. A dentist can evaluate the extent of dental damage and recommend suitable treatment options. 

In some cases, addressing the underlying cause, such as sleep apnea or temporomandibular joint disorders, may be necessary. 

Physicians may also prescribe medications or therapy to manage stress and associated symptoms.


In conclusion, bruxism also referred to as teeth grinding, is a widespread oral health problem that affects millions of people all over the world. 

We have learned important things about this ailment that is frequently disregarded via our exploration of the symptoms, causes, and treatment options. 

It is obvious that teeth grinding can negatively impact our dental health and general wellness. However, bruxism can be effectively managed with preventative measures and personalised treatment plans.