Bruxism: Grinding Away Your Healthy Tooth Enamel

Waking up in the morning with a headache every day? Does the pain radiate to your jaw? Well, you may be suffering from a medical condition called bruxism. It is a condition characterized by involuntary clenching or grinding of your teeth. 

The dentist in Tukwila, WA, and their team are highly experienced in providing comprehensive care to diagnose and manage bruxism. 

Understanding bruxism

An involuntary clenching or grinding of your teeth, especially during sleep, is known as bruxism. This could probably occur when you are awake (awake bruxism) or during your sleep (sleep bruxism). Occasional teeth grinding is considered normal, but persistent clenching should not be ignored since it can indicate an underlying cause. 

Bruxism is considered a common sleep problem with a prevalence of 10% among adults and 15% among children. 

Ill-effects of teeth grinding 

Excess teeth grinding is not normal and may cause some serious dental issues such as:

  1. Wearing down of teeth
  2. Fractured or mobile teeth
  3. Damage to your TMJ, jaw
  4. Strained neck muscles
  5. Tooth loss
  6. Aesthetic problems due to changes in your facial profile

Potential causes of bruxism 

Bruxism has multiple causes to it that are different in adults and children. These include:

Causes in adults 

  1. Sleep disorders
  2. Stress and anxiety
  3. Unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking and alcoholism
  4. Consumption of recreational drugs and excess caffeine 
  5. Certain medications like anti-anxiety drugs 

Causes in children 

  1. Malaligned teeth
  2. Pain such as earache
  3. Stress 
  4. Medical conditions like hyperactivity or cerebral palsy

Possible symptoms associated with bruxism

Teeth grinding can be manifested by the following signs and symptoms:

  1. Headaches 
  2. TMJ pain 
  3. Pain radiating to the ears 
  4. Gnawing, full, constant tooth pain, especially after waking up
  5. Wearing down the tooth enamel
  6. Jaw pain while chewing 
  7. Clicking or popping sounds around the TMJ
  8. Jaw stiffness (lockjaw)
  9. Myofascial pain
  10. Highly sensitive teeth 
  11. Tooth indentations 

Treating bruxism 

Here are some common ways in which bruxism is treated:

Conservative methods 

    1. Relaxation exercises
    2. Stress management techniques like yoga


    1. These are acrylic appliances that help to minimize the abrasive action of tooth surfaces during sleep.
    2. They also help stabilize the occlusion and prevent damage to the teeth and TMJ.

NTI-tss device

    1. This device is designed to fit your front teeth, preventing the abnormal grinding of the rear molars by limiting the contraction of the temporalis muscle.

Botox injections 

    1. This is an excellent neuromodulator that aids in the relaxation of the facial muscles that have been weakened due to bruxism.

Other treatments 

    1. Cognitive behavioral therapy
    2. Physical therapy  

Bruxism is a common condition being suffered by people of all age groups. An unhealthy lifestyle, stress, and anxiety are the main culprits behind this condition. Diagnosing and treating it early is important to avoid further dental complications.