Bruxism - do you grind your teeth?

Bruxism - do you grind your teeth?

Most people who grind their teeth and clench their jaws are not aware they are doing it. Over time, Bruxism can result in serious oral health conditions.

Have you ever been told that you grind your teeth while you are sleeping? Or maybe you have noticed someone who does this? Perhaps you find yourself clenching your teeth during the day.

Maybe you are fatigued or you feel tension in your neck, upper back muscles or in your facial muscles. This could indicate that you have Bruxism, a common sleep disorder that involves clenching and/or grinding the teeth. Bruxism can sometimes lead to other medical conditions such as sleep apnea.

Bruxism can also occur when you are awake, but sleep bruxism is more challenging because there is no way to prevent the grinding and clenching movements while you are asleep.

jaw bruxism pain grinding clenching teeth TMD TMJ

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ)

Canadian Dental Association


Bruxism is an involuntary habitual grinding of the teeth that usually happens during sleep.

It is a repetitive jaw-muscle activity that can include teeth clenching. Bruxism can be mild to severe, causing a painful jaw, sensitive teeth and gums, and can also gradually wear down your teeth. More severe cases can lead to jaw joint problems and can be loud enough to wake anyone sleeping near you.

worn down teeth Bruxism grinding clenching dentist gum recession

Effects of Bruxism

What Causes Sleep Bruxism?

The cause of Bruxism is still clinically unproven; however medical professionals believe that it could be triggered by the stresses of daily life. It is most likely a way to release stress in adults, and for children it has been linked to tonsil problems.

Bruxism can also be caused by misalignment of the top and bottom teeth (malocclusion).

There may also be a relationship between Bruxism and the use of nicotine, medication, caffeine, alcohol and drugs.

Is Bruxism Painful?

There are many factors that play a role in the degree of pain that someone with Bruxism will feel:

• Stress level

• Length of time spent clenching and grinding teeth

• Tightness of clenching of teeth

• Misalignment of teeth

• Posture

• Ability to relax

• Sleeping habits

Who can have Bruxism?

Both children and adults can have bruxism. Fortunately, many children will outgrow this condition if they have it before the age of 11 years.

occlusal splint teeth Bruxism jaw pain sleep grinding teeth clenching mouth guard oral

Occlusal Splint - Canadian Dental Association

Is there any treatment for Bruxism?

If you think you or someone you know may have Bruxism, the first step is to visit your dentist to determine the exact problem.

In most cases, Bruxism will go away on its own but if treatment is necessary, your dentist will develop a plan for you. This could range from wearing an appliance when you sleep, to lifestyle changes and tongue exercises.

Here are some tips to help you cope with Bruxism:

• Learn what triggers stress in your life and develop strategies to reduce it

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• A mouth guard can help when you are sleeping

• Improve your posture

• Do jaw alignment exercises if malocclusion is the cause

• Minimize or cut out caffeine

• Make a point of relaxing during the day

• Cut back or stop drinking alcohol

• Do not chew gum or other objects

If you would like to learn more about Bruxism, we would be happy to meet with you. Please contact Dentistry in Waterloo for a consultation.