What is Bruxism or Teeth Grinding?

Do you, or a family member grind your teeth? It’s not unusual to clench or grind your teeth from time to time. Teeth grinding, or bruxism often occurs while you are sleeping (nocturnal bruxism) and is most likely caused by an abnormal bite, missing, or crooked teeth. It can also be caused by sleep apnea, stress, and anxiety.

Teeth grinding doesn’t usually cause harm, but when it occurs on a regular basis, other complications can arise. Many people are not aware that they grind their teeth, especially if it occurs during sleep, but if you wake with a dull headache or a sore jaw, that can be a sign of teeth grinding. You may also grind your teeth or clench your jaw while you’re awake (awake bruxism).

Complications of Teeth Grinding

• Headaches
• Pain in the jaw, face, and ears
• Flattening the teeth
• Loose or painful teeth
• Cracked or fractured teeth
• Broken fillings and crowns

Long-term Complications

• Chronic ear and headache pain
• Facial muscle enlargement
• Damage to teeth that requires dental procedures
• Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ)


Bruxism night guard


When to See a Dentist for Bruxism

If you grind your teeth, have pain or other symptoms, see a dentist. A dentist will examine your jaw for tenderness and teeth for excessive wear. A dental crown, root canal, or implant may be needed if the teeth are damaged to a great extent. A dentist will also look at your bite and alignment. Your jaw and even the appearance of your face can be affected by excessive grinding. Some remedies may work better than others, depending on the underlying cause of your teeth grinding and symptoms. A dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding while you sleep. Stress reduction techniques such as counseling, exercise, or use of muscle relaxants are alternative options.

Depending on the suspected causes, your dentist may recommend seeing your doctor for the treatment of an underlying condition. Treatment of a sleep disorder can also reduce or eliminate the teeth grinding.

Teeth grinding is a common condition with many possible causes. Treating it early is important to avoid significant dental complications. If you or a loved one is suffering from bruxism, contact Webster Dental today at (630) 663-0554. We are located at 1121 Warren Avenue, Suite 130, in Downers Grove, Illinois 60515. Our dental office is in the heart of downtown Downers Grove, and just minutes away from Interstates 88, 355, 55, 290, and 294.

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