Bruxism Treatment: What to Do When You Grind Your Teeth

Have you been waking up with jaw pain? Do you hear popping sounds when you open your mouth, or do you get headaches more frequently? Has your companion complained about your teeth grinding or squeaking during the night? If so, you may be suffering from bruxism. Bruxism affects people all around the world, and it impacts both adults and children in Australia daily.

Here, we will talk about the treatment of bruxism. Don’t miss this one. Read on to learn more!

What is Bruxism?

what is bruxism (2)

Bruxism is a condition in which you grind or clench your teeth unconsciously. Teeth grinding most likely happens during sleep (sleep bruxism or nocturnal bruxism). However, it can happen during the day as well (awake bruxism). 

Most people with bruxism are unaware of their nightly grinding or clenching until they suffer from severe dental health implications. Bruxism involves forceful contact between the upper and lower teeth. Patients who have never been diagnosed with bruxism may have hypersensitive teeth, gum recession, loose or fractured teeth, and excessive wear on crowns and fillings.

What to Do If You Grind Your Teeth?

what to do if you grind your teeth

Teeth grinding is a significant problem for many people. There is no specific treatment at this time that can eradicate tooth grinding. Even so, a range of treatments and techniques are available to address the causes of tooth grinding. Several options available might be able to help you reduce or eliminate grinding. These include:

  • Consult a dentist:
    If you suspect you are grinding your teeth, the first person you should see is a dentist. The dentist will look for indicators of bruxism during a dental exam, such as excessive wear on your teeth, like cracks, chips, or loose teeth. 
  • Wearing a mouthguard:
    Mouthguards are devices worn to protect your teeth from grinding or clenching while sleeping, as well as sports-related injuries. Additionally, they can assist in reducing snoring and relieving sleep disorders.
  • Wearing a splint:
    The use of an occlusal splint will not prevent you from grinding or clenching your teeth. It does, however, guide the jaw into a neutral posture, relieving pressure on the jaw joint and protecting your teeth quite effectively from the adverse effects of bruxism.
  • Using a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD):
    A Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) keeps your jaw and tongue forward, preventing them from obstructing your airway during deep sleep. It is a custom-made medical device worn in the mouth to treat sleep-related breathing problems such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), snoring, and temporomandibular (TMJ) disorders.
  • Limit your intake of alcoholic beverages:
    Alcohol causes teeth grinding. It may cause muscles to become hyperactive, resulting in nightly tooth grinding. Teeth grinding may also be worsened by dehydration, which is frequently the result of excessive drinking.
  • Cut back on or avoid foods that contain caffeine:
    Caffeine can disrupt sleep and promote nervousness, both of which can raise the risk of jaw clenching and cause discomfort.
  • Use stress management techniques:
    While other factors can lead to bruxism, stress has been identified as the primary reason, particularly in adults. When you are under a great deal of stress, your jaw muscles may contract, resulting in teeth grinding or clenching. Maintaining a healthy stress level can assist you in reducing bruxism.
  • Behavioral therapy:
    This type of therapy is occasionally used to treat bruxism; the patient is taught how to posture their mouth to avoid clenching and grinding. Teeth grinding can be avoided by keeping the lips together, teeth separate, and the tongue touching the roof of the mouth. 

Reasons Why You Grind Your Teeth

  • Medication: Teeth grinding is a possible side effect of certain medications. Teeth grinding is mainly associated with antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as paroxetine and sertraline.
  • Stress and Anxiety: Stress and anxiety are the most prevalent causes of sleep disruptions and bruxism while awake. When someone is agitated, they are more prone to grinding their teeth. Fortunately, once the underlying cause is addressed, most patients have a resolution of their symptoms as well. Anger, irritation, or tension may all play a role in the development of bruxism as well. If you have bruxism when awake, it could be a coping mechanism or a habit.
  • Lifestyle: Numerous lifestyle choices might either raise the risk of teeth grinding or worsen it. These include excessive alcohol use, cigarette smoking, drug use such as cocaine and ecstasy, and consumption of caffeinated beverages such as tea and coffee.
  • Dental Malocclusion: Misaligned teeth can also contribute to bruxism, a prevalent disorder wherein individuals clench or grind their teeth. There is no widespread agreement over whether misalignment causes the disorder; some argue it worsens pre-existing conditions, while others believe malocclusion is caused by tooth grinding.
  • Neurological Disorders: Bruxism has been observed to be more common in individuals with specific neurological illnesses such as Rett syndrome, anoxic encephalopathy, mental retardation, and cerebellar hemorrhage. Individuals with idiopathic cranial dystonia are more likely to clench their teeth, grind their teeth, or do both. This neurological condition is characterized by unusual spasms and movements of the orolingual-facial musculature, similar to those found with bruxism (teeth grinding).
  • Genes: Genetic factors may contribute to bruxism. Teeth grinding is a hereditary trait that changes according to neurotransmitter levels. Family members may be impacted by elevated hormone levels or variants in specific genes. Morphisms have also been demonstrated to affect neurotransmitters such as serotonin (a common occurrence among those who report teeth grinding).
  • Sleep Disorders: Snorers and those who suffer from sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are more likely to experience sleep bruxism, or teeth grinding while asleep. OSA makes breathing difficult at night and contributes to fatigue as a result of disrupted sleep.

What Happens If You Don’t Treat Bruxism?

what happens if you don’t treat bruxism

Individuals are affected by bruxism in a variety of ways. While bruxism frequently has short-term consequences, more serious long-term complications can become permanent for those who suffer from the disorder.

Untreated symptoms in the short term can eventually progress to more severe ones. As soon as you notice any symptoms, it is critical to seek treatment from a dentist. Not just to relieve bruxism, but also to aid in the prevention of tooth loss and decay.

Over time, bruxism can be harmful to your teeth and gums. Among the long-term effects of bruxism are the following:

  1. Damaged Teeth
    During a typical dental visit, your dentist can determine if you grind your teeth. Patients who have had bruxism for an extended period of time have flattened teeth that appear even and square. Teeth deteriorate and get shorter. The longer untreated bruxism is left untreated, the more noticeable it becomes.
    Additionally, grinding your teeth can cause damage to dental restorations such as crowns or fillings, resulting in their failure and replacement.
  2. Tissue Sensitivity of the Teeth
    Since grinding your teeth wears down and prematurely ages your teeth, the sensitivity of the teeth can also wear away the protective enamel coating. There is no method to restore lost enamel. The softer tissue becomes exposed, allowing for an increase in the number of harmful germs that enter your tooth and cause cavities.
    Without the protective layer of enamel, hot and cold temperatures can penetrate the root of your tooth, making certain foods and beverages uncomfortable at best and painful at worst.
  3. Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)
    The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects your lower jaw to your skull, allows your jaw to move. Bruxism puts strain on the TMJ, which can lead to dysfunction and chronic pain.TMJ symptoms include headaches, muscle tension in the face or neck, pain when eating or speaking, and difficulty opening your mouth completely.
  4. Gum Disease
    Grinding your teeth exerts pressure on your gums and the connective tissue that supports your teeth. When the connective tissue that supports your teeth is removed, your teeth may become loose. Grinding your teeth might result in the inflamed, red, or irritated gum tissue.

Final Thoughts

The good news is that there is hope for those who suffer from tooth grinding disorders. Visit your dentist as soon as possible to learn about treatment options for alleviating the pain caused by bruxism.We know that teeth grinding can be painful, and we want you to experience the highest quality of oral care available. At Peel Dental Studio, our team will examine your mouth during an extraction consultation if it has been caused by bruxing (tooth grinding). We will then recommend the best treatment options for relief from this condition, so do not hesitate to contact us today at 9535-4900.

Avatar photo

Peel Dental Studio

Dr. Bailey formerly served on the Australian Dental Association as President, Vice President Treasurer and Country Councillor. He was on the Australian Dental Association Federal Council and has always been keen to give back to the profession that has been his life. He has tutored student dentists at the Oral Health Centre in Perth.