Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) – Causes and Treatments

Teeth Grinding Bruxism

Do you wake up with a headache and sore facial muscles? Perhaps you are grinding your teeth while sleeping. People may unintentionally grind their teeth at any time of the day, but it typically occurs at night. A wide range of biting forces is in play when people grind their teeth, from 100 to 600 psi. The force is powerful and can potentially damage your teeth long-term. Let’s dig deeper into the causes, treatments, and signs of bruxism.

What Is Bruxism Or Teeth Grinding?

Bruxism refers to the act of gnashing, grinding, or clenching teeth. The condition is called sleep bruxism if you do it while sleeping. People who grind or clench their teeth while asleep are more susceptible to snoring and breathing pauses, among other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.

Treatment may not be required for minor teeth grinding. However, some people grind their teeth frequently and forcefully enough to harm their teeth, jaw muscles, and heads. It’s essential to be aware of the warning signs and symptoms of bruxism and go for frequent dental checkups because you may grind your teeth in your sleep without realising it until it causes problems.

Symptoms Of Teeth Grinding

A person may grind teeth while awake or sleeping. Regardless of when it occurs, bruxism has the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the face, neck, and shoulders
  • TMJ disorder due to sore jaw
  • Teeth loss and increased tooth sensitivity
  • Headaches
  • Earache
  • Sleep disturbance


Although doctors are unsure of the exact cause, it may be a combination of genetic, psychological, and physical factors. Here are some of the causes of bruxism:

  • Tension
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Anger
  • Irritability

Risk Factors

Bruxism has tons of risk factors. Some of them include (but are not limited to): 

  • Stress: You may grit your teeth more if you are more stressed or anxious. The same is true of frustration and anger
  • Age: Most young children grind their teeth, but it usually stops as they age
  • Personality: Aggressive, competitive, or overly active traits are more prevalent in those who grind their teeth
  • Medications: One uncommon side effect of some mental health medications, such as antidepressants, is bruxism. You increase your risk of bruxism if you smoke, consume coffee or alcohol, or do recreational drugs
  • Other disorders: Parkinson’s disease,  night terrors, GERD, dementia, epilepsy, sleep problems like sleep apnea, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, have all been linked to bruxism
Teeth Grinding Bruxism

Is Teeth Grinding Harmful?

Bruxism typically doesn’t result in significant issues. However, persistent teeth grinding cause adverse side effects. Some of them include:

  • Damage to the teeth, jaw, fillings, or crowns
  • Pain due to stress
  • Extremely severe facial or jaw pain
  • Temporomandibular joints pain

How To Treat Teeth Grinding?

Dentists frequently prescribe nightguards for patients with bruxism to prevent them from harming their teeth and mouths, but the appliance does not stop the grinding. A doctor may choose from the following options depending on your symptoms and stressors:

1). Muscle relaxants: These can ease jaw tension and prevent nighttime teeth grinding. Your doctor might change the antidepressant you’re taking if it increases your likelihood of grinding your teeth

2). Botox: Bruxism typically stops when Botox is injected into the jaw. Since the 1990s, the treatment has been used, and it is risk-free, effective, and leaves no scars

3). Behavioral strategies: Psychologists teach patients how to manage stress and relax by helping them identify their triggers and deal with them. Doctors use biofeedback to assess tight muscles and demonstrate how relaxation techniques and stretches for the jaw, neck, and head can help them loosen up

Final Thoughts

Unintentional teeth grinding or clenching is known as bruxism. It can strike while you’re awake or asleep and leave you with headaches, facial pain, and jaw stiffness. Over time, grinding your teeth can harm your teeth, gums, and jaw joints.

A dentist can determine if you grind your teeth during a dental examination. The purpose of treatment is to address any additional factors that may be causing the bruxism while protecting the teeth from harm with a mouthguard or mouth splint. Reducing stress, switching medications, or treating underlying conditions like sleep apnea may be necessary for this situation.

North Adelaide Smiles: Your Partner in Dental Health

We treat bruxism at North Adelaide Smiles, regardless if the bruxism affects you while asleep or awake. Each bruxism patient receives a customised course of treatment after being assessed by our dentists. The dentists will then explain your personalised plan to ensure you achieve your objectives. Give us a call to start your bruxism treatment journey and book a regular dental check-up.

If you are looking for a trustworthy and reliable dentist in North Adelaide, then please contact us at North Adelaide Smiles on 08 8244 3144 to make an appointment or leave an enquiry.