Did you know that bruxism is a common problem among dental patients? Many people grind their teeth without even knowing it.

Bruxism is a condition that affects millions of people. While it may not need treatment in some cases, severe bruxism can lead to a lot of problems, so it’s important to get treatment if you think you may have it.

If you’re not sure if you have it, we will discuss the signs and symptoms of bruxism that you need to look out for so that you can get the treatment you need. Keep on reading to learn more!

Types Of Bruxism

Sleep bruxism

This type of bruxism causes you to grind your teeth when sleeping, which can be more harmful than awake bruxism. This is because you are not aware that you are doing it and receiving proper treatment may cause a delay, which may result in more serious complications. Another issue with sleep bruxism is that the person has no idea of how hard they are clenching their jaw and teeth. They have the ability to use up to 250 pounds of force, resulting in jaw pain, headaches, and dental problems.

Awake bruxism

This condition is when you clench your jaw and grind your teeth during daylight. It is frequently associated with emotional problems. Teeth grinding may occur when the person is feeling anxious, stressed, or irritated, and concentration may be beneficial. Since you are aware, there is a high chance that you’re more likely to detect and prevent bruxism, and treatment may not be necessary. Although stress management can help.

How Do You Know If You Have Bruxism?

how to know that you have bruxism

It’s an unconscious habit for many people. You may not even be aware that you have it until you experience bruxism symptoms such as waking up with jaw pain or someone noticing that you make a grinding sound while sleeping. For others, the symptoms of bruxism may be less obvious, and a routine dental checkup is when they learn that grinding or clenching has worn away or damaged their tooth enamel.

As we’ve mentioned, clenching and grinding your teeth may occur while you’re sleeping or when you are awake. Research shows that signs of facial pain, headaches, neck pain, and ear pain are self-reported. A dentist can perform an evaluation to have a proper diagnosis and determine whether the source of the facial pain is due to bruxism.

Common signs of bruxism may include the following:

Disrupted sleep

If you notice that you suddenly start experiencing disrupted sleep or other problems when sleeping, along with any of the symptoms, this may be a common indication that you are grinding your teeth while sleeping.

Dull headache

Frequent occurrences of head pain (mainly originating in the temples) after sleep are a strong sign of bruxism. Tell your doctor about this problem at your next appointment so that they can assist you in determining if it is caused by grinding your teeth or not.

Tooth sensitivity

As a result of grinding your teeth at night, your enamel will be chipped away consistently, eventually leading to more sensitive teeth. You may notice this when you experience irritation when eating foods you normally like. This will be especially noticeable in cold and acidic foods.

Oral problems

Forceful pressure from tooth grinding may result in tooth damage and other dental problems. Unconsciously, frequent clenching can lead to damage to tooth enamel, exposing the deeper layer of the tooth, known as dentin. This problem can cause increased tooth sensitivity and chipped teeth.

If left untreated, such problems can lead to loose teeth and eventually tooth loss.

Jaw soreness, neck, and ear pain

If you wake up with frequent pain in your jaw, ear(s), or neck, it is possible that you are grinding your teeth while sleeping. This is due to the continuous movement of your muscles in these areas as you sleep. Some toothaches can seem like they’re coming from your ear, but the problem is not an ear infection. If you notice ear aches that are accompanied by any of the other symptoms on this list, it is important that you contact the dentist the next time you experience them. They can try to solve your problem if it is dental-related, or they can determine if it is a problem caused by another health condition.

Temporomandibular joint disorder

It is known that TMJ disorder can be exacerbated or caused by bruxism, which involves grinding your teeth. TMJ disorders cause pain and poor function of your jaw muscles and joints. You can also identify it by hearing a clicking sound in your ears. However, it is important to note that only untreated severe bruxism will show these problems.

Factors That Can Cause Bruxism


Grinding of teeth can also be caused by unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol, abusing drugs, and consuming too much caffeine beverages. These habits have an adverse influence on your brain and cardiovascular functions.

Dental problems

We mentioned earlier that bruxism can lead to dental problems. However, in some cases, having misaligned teeth and teeth can trigger bruxism.

When you have an abnormal bite or crooked teeth, it can cause pain and additional pressure on your jaw joints. In addition, it is also possible that irritation in the mouth contributes to grinding or clenching.


There are also medications that can cause bruxism. Among them are serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are used as prescribed medicine for anxiety disorders and other psychological conditions. In addition, other antidepressants, including paroxetine and fluoxetine, may cause teeth grinding.

Sleep disorders

Many cases of sleep bruxism are caused by brain activity during sleep, including dreaming and sleep disturbances. Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders that can result in bruxism while sleeping.

Emotional problems

Anxiety, tension, rage, and frustration are all instances of emotional stress that can lead to both sleep and awake bruxism. For instance, some people grind and clench their teeth when trying to concentrate or when anxious.

Substance use

Drinking alcohol, using caffeine, smoking cigarettes, and using recreational drugs may all increase the risk of bruxism.

Other risk factors may include:


Tooth grinding is found to be more common among children.

Family history or genetic factors

If you or someone in your family has a history of teeth grinding or jaw clenching, you are more likely to develop the condition as well.

Other health conditions

Bruxism has been linked to a variety of mental health and medical disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, dementia, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), epilepsy, night terrors, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and sleep-related disorders such as sleep apnea.

Personality type

Aggressive, competitive, or hyperactive personality types are more likely to experience bruxism than other personality types.

Why Is Teeth Grinding Harmful?

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Severe grinding can result in fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. Loose teeth can create spaces in the gum lines that may attract bacteria to grow and eventually cause gum recession. Gum recession is a condition in which the gums pull back from the tooth surface, exposing the roots. This issue can eventually lead to tooth loss.

Moreover, chronic clenching can wear down your teeth, and dental restorations such as bridges, crowns, implants, root canals, and dentures may be required to restore your damaged teeth.

Severe bruxism can not only result in broken teeth or tooth loss, but it can also negatively impact your jaws, leading to or worsening temporomandibular disorder, affecting your overall appearance and proper function of the jaws.

Is Bruxism Treatable?

The recommended treatment for your bruxism depends on what is causing it. Our dentist can assist you in determining the source of your bruxism by asking questions and examining your teeth. The dentist may advise you to do the following based on the extent of the tooth damage and its likely cause:

Wearing night guards

A mouth guard (sometimes referred to as a dental appliance or an occlusal splint) may be beneficial. Some night guards are designed to fit over the top teeth, while others are designed to fit over the bottom teeth. They may be intended to keep your jaw in a more relaxed position or as a physical barrier.

Warm towel

Applying a warm, damp towel to the side of your face when you are experiencing physical pain from bruxism relaxes the muscles that become sore from clenching.

Orthodontics or restorative treatments

An uneven bite is characterised by teeth that do not fit together well. If the dentist determines that a poor bite is what is causing the bruxism, we may recommend new fillings, crowns, or orthodontics to correct the positions of your teeth.

Final Thoughts

While bruxism is a common condition, it is critical to understand the causes of the grinding and clenching of your teeth. To do this, consult with a dental professional to help you determine the best course of treatment. By controlling stress, wearing a dentist-recommended appliance, and eliminating abnormalities in your bite, you can lessen the symptoms of bruxism, which typically causes pain or damage to the teeth and jawline.

Book an appointment today at Burwood Dental Care and contact our office at 03 7034 0333

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