Understanding Bruxism

Understanding Bruxism

Grinding Teeth Sleeping Bruxism

For patients that are experiencing dental problems when they wake up in the morning, it is possible that you have been grinding your teeth throughout the night. This is if you have symptoms such as cracked teeth or waking up in the mornings with an aching jaw. If you find that you have mild headaches and soreness in your face and jaw after sitting at your desk for hours, it is most likely due to grinding your teeth. While it may seem like tooth grinding is limited to high-stress situations, it’s actually something just about everyone does at one point or the other. While most grinding is triggered by stress or boredom, there are times when it is a result of a teeth-clenching habit.


Grinding and/or teeth clenching is known as bruxism. This condition can lead to cracked teeth, mouth pain, and possibly even the loss of teeth. Bruxism is a medical term for people who grind or clench their teeth in their sleep. Many people who suffer from this disorder are not even aware of the problem. If left untreated, there are numerous, sometimes severe, consequences such as:

  • Worn or cracked teeth
  • Headaches, sometimes acute
  • Hearing loss
  • Jaw pain
  • Loose or fractured teeth
  • TMJ

TMJ (aka temporomandibular joint) problems occur when the joint of the jaw, the joint where your bottom jaw is attached to your skull, becomes inflamed or injured. This is can be called either TMJ, or sometimes TMD.

Signs of Bruxism

We here at Fort York Dentist, would like you to know that we can do a complete evaluation as well as treat your ailments. Some of the symptoms of Bruxism & TMJ are:

  • Clicking or popping noise in the jaw when eating or speaking
  • Pain in your face, neck, or shoulders, especially when chewing or yawning
  • Swelling in your jaw
  • A “locking up” of your jaw
  • Difficulty chewing

Treatment for Bruxism

There are various treatment options for bruxism, which include heat or ice packs, massage, refraining from chewing gum, muscle relaxants, or sometimes steroids are used. It’s been found that some people benefit from antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. Sometimes a combination of these treatments works best. However, it is best to go to a trusted professional when treating your bruxism.

Night Guards

Many people with bruxism and/or TMJ use a night guard when they are asleep. A night guard is a custom-made, custom fitted appliance that fits inside the mouth to protect your teeth from damage while you are sleeping. A night guard will keep your teeth slightly separated and therefore prevents you from clenching or grinding your teeth. As the name implies, night guards are used only when you are sleeping. A night guard is a proactive way to protect your healthy teeth while avoiding more damage. Night guards generally relieve the majority of the pain for those suffering from bruxism and TMJ.

Studies show that those who do who not seek treatment for their bruxism can experience up to 80 times more wear on their teeth per day than what is considered normal as compared to those who do seek treatment.

Here at Fort York Dentist, we want you to know that you do not have to suffer from the pain or damage that bruxism or TMJ can cause you. Call (647) 346-8888 and make an appointment. We can make a custom-fitted night guard that will protect your teeth as well as teach you additional tactics that can help you deal with bruxism.

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