Tooth Grinding Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Teeth Grinding

Bruxism is a common dental condition characterised by grinding, gnashing, or teeth clenching. This can happen while you’re awake or asleep.

Sleep bruxism is common and considered a sleep disorder. It’s often linked to other sleep problems like snoring and sleep apnea.

Mild cases of bruxism may not need treatment. But for some people, bruxism can be severe and lead to complications. These complications may include jaw disorders, chronic headaches, dental damage, and other oral health issues.

One of the challenges with bruxism is that individuals may only be aware of their condition once these complications arise. Thus, it’s crucial to recognise the signs and symptoms of bruxism and seek regular dental care. Regular dental check-ups can help diagnose and manage bruxism before it leads to more severe consequences. Don’t let bruxism grind down your oral health – stay informed, seek professional care, and protect your smile.


Here are some common indications of bruxism:

  1. Audible Grinding: Teeth grinding or clenching can be so intense that it may be loud enough to disturb your sleep partner. This noisy grinding during sleep is often a telltale sign of bruxism.
  2. Dental Damage: If you grind your teeth, it can lead to some serious dental issues. Your teeth can become flat, broken, chipped, or be wiggling around. Plus, the hard outer shell of your teeth, called enamel, can get worn away, showing the softer stuff inside.
  3. Tooth Pain or Sensitivity: If you’re experiencing increased tooth pain or heightened sensitivity, particularly when consuming hot or cold foods and beverages, it may indicate bruxism-related damage.
  4. Jaw Discomfort: Bruxism may give you tired or tight jaw muscles, and in severe cases, you may have a locked jaw that won’t open or close completely.
  5. Facial and Neck Pain: Bruxism may cause pain or soreness in the jaw, neck, and face, which may be noticeable upon waking in the morning.
  6. Earache-Like Pain: Some individuals with bruxism report pain that seems like an earache, although the issue originates in the jaw and not the ear itself.
  7. Temporal Headache: A dull headache, typically starting in the temples, is a common symptom of bruxism. This headache can persist and become a recurring issue.
  8. Cheek Damage: Chewing on the inside of your cheek can result from teeth grinding and is another potential sign of bruxism.
  9. Sleep Disturbance: Since bruxism is often more prevalent during sleep, it can disrupt your rest, leading to difficulty falling and staying asleep and potentially causing daytime fatigue.

Recognising these signs and symptoms is crucial to addressing bruxism and its potential consequences. Suppose you or your sleep partner notice any of these indicators. In that case, it’s advisable to seek professional dental care to determine the best approach to manage and treat bruxism, preserving your oral health and overall well-being.

Risk Factors

Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is a complex condition influenced by several risk factors contributing to its development. These factors encompass:

  • Stress: Elevated stress and anxiety levels are frequently linked to bruxism. Emotional or psychological stress can lead to teeth clenching or grinding, especially during sleep. Effectively managing stress through relaxation techniques can mitigate this risk.
  • Age: Bruxism can affect individuals of all age groups, but it’s more prevalent in children and tends to diminish with time. Children may experience bruxism due to teething or as part of their developmental phases. Nevertheless, it can persist into adulthood and become a chronic issue.
  • Personality Traits: Certain personality characteristics can heighten the risk of bruxism. Perfectionism, competitiveness, and aggression have associations with a greater likelihood of teeth grinding.
  • Medications: Bruxism may be a side effect of a medication affecting the central nervous system. Some examples of these medications are antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, and stimulants.
  • Coexisting Conditions: Bruxism is frequently linked to other medical or sleep-related disorders. In most cases, it’s related to sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. Additionally, neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease and certain psychiatric disorders can elevate the risk of bruxism.


Addressing bruxism often requires a multifaceted approach, as it’s not solely about preventing teeth grinding but also identifying and managing the underlying causes. Here are some treatments and strategies that healthcare professionals may employ to help bruxism patients:

  • Nightguards: Dentists frequently recommend using nightguards, retainer-like devices worn in the mouth overnight. These guards provide a protective barrier for the teeth and help prevent damage caused by grinding. While nightguards do not eliminate the grinding, they are valuable in safeguarding dental health.
  • Medication options: For managing jaw muscle tension, muscle relaxers may be prescribed, as they can relieve this common nighttime grinding trigger. In cases where certain antidepressant medications are linked to bruxism, your healthcare provider may explore switching to an alternative medication with a lower risk of teeth grinding. On the other hand, if stress plays a role in your bruxism, your provider might recommend antidepressants that can aid you in better coping with the underlying stressors.
  • Botox Injections: In some instances, Botox injections can be administered to paralyse the jaw muscles involved in teeth grinding. It is considered safe, highly effective, and doesn’t alter the facial appearance.
  • Behavioural Strategies: Psychologists and behavioural specialists are vital in assisting individuals dealing with bruxism. They work closely with patients to identify the triggers and effectively manage the stressors that lead to teeth grinding. Through stress management techniques and relaxation training, they address the root causes of bruxism. You must know that the most successful treatment plan can differ from person to person, depending on their symptoms and stress factors. A holistic approach that integrates these strategies, tailored to each individual’s requirements, offers the best opportunity for effectively managing bruxism and averting its potential complications.

If bruxism is taking a toll on your dental health and well-being, come to Care Family Dental. Our team can provide you with effective bruxism treatment based on your requirements. Please schedule your appointment with us today to free yourself from the discomfort and potential complications of bruxism. Call us on 1300 99 1300 to know more about out other dental services like dental veneers, implants, fixed braces, and Invisalign.

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