Bruxism: The Daily Grind

Habitual Grinding of Teeth (aka Bruxism)

Do you grind your teeth? If so, you are not alone. Approximately 50% to 96% of people brux their teeth. What’s more, 15% of kids acquire the behavior. Surprisingly, most people fail to realize they grind their teeth, unless they notice chipping or experience jaw pain. Regardless of the severity of their habit, bruxism can occur during the day or night.

Although the condition has no specific cause, it is believed to be most prevalent in people who:

  • Struggle with stress. This is characterized as being aggressive, controlling, precise, or having time urgency and achievement compulsion, tend to develop bruxism malocclusion (teeth which are not properly aligned).
  • Whose parents brux. Kids whose folks grind are more likely to develop the habit than their peers whose parents do not brux.
  • Substance abusers often grind their teeth. For instance, people who smoke are more likely to grind their teeth than their non-smoking peers. 

Signs of Bruxism

  • Tooth wear
  • Fractures of the teeth and fillings
  • Grinding noise noticed by a sleeping partner
  • Facial muscle pain and fatigue
  • TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Pain or Dysfunction)
  • Shoulder and/or neck pain and stiffness
  • Locking, cracking, and clicking of the jaw 
  • Headaches
  • Tooth mobility
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Excessive wear of tooth enamel
  • Earache
  • Jaw swelling

Bruxism Treatments

  • We often suggest behavioral therapies to stop bruxism. For example, head position may impact teeth grinding. 
  • Stress reduction and coping techniques may reduce the emotional stress that leads to bruxism.
  • We could measure you for and create a removable intra-oral appliance called a nightguard or splint. 
  • A mouthguard protects the teeth from clenching and grinding teeth together. 
  • A mouthguard (aka a nightguard) is more practical for treating night bruxism than for those who clench and grind their teeth during the day.
  • Some people may experience a reduction in symptoms by increasing exercise or meditating.
  • Try to wind down before heading to bed with a relaxing nightly ritual.
  • If pain persists, try an OTC pain medication. 
  • Talk to your dentist today if you experience any of the above symptoms. We may be able to help relieve your pain and get your mouth back in great shape. 

About Dr. Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry in Glendora

Dr. Fred Wong and the staff at Blue Ocean Dentistry use the latest available dental treatments, equipment, and materials – all of which make a marked difference in our patients’ experiences. We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal dental health. We creatively combine dental science and artistry — which can literally redesign your smile. Since even a subtle change in your smile will help you to project self-confidence and high self-esteem, we love helping you feel good about yourself. We deliver the finest dental care at the most reasonable cost and accept most dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit. For more about the dental treatment plans we offer or to schedule an appointment, call today (626) 852-6999.