Cobblestone Park Family Dental

The Effects of Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) and How to Fix It

Bruxism is when a person unconsciously clenches or grinds their teeth. There are two different forms of bruxism and several different reasons behind this condition.

While it can cause jaw pain, irritation in the mouth, and wearing down of the teeth, there are ways to combat bruxism so your smile stays happy and healthy.

What are the different types of bruxism?

You can experience bruxism while asleep or awake. 

Awake Bruxism

Awake bruxism is when someone unconsciously grinds or clenches their teeth. It doesn’t always involve the grinding of the teeth. Some people tend to clench their teeth or tense their jaws. 

Symptoms surrounding awake bruxism include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Dull headaches
  • Facial stiffness

Grinding your teeth can cause wear on the teeth. However, if some people experience bruxism by clenching their teeth or jaw, this doesn’t always result in wear on the teeth.

Sleep Bruxism

While it can be harder to identify sleep bruxism since you’re asleep when it’s happening, there are several symptoms that could indicate if you are suffering from sleep bruxism.

Unlike awake bruxism, sleep bruxism is a sleep disorder. It is when you grind or clench your teeth in your sleep. While you can’t really know if you grind your teeth, other people will be able to hear your teeth while you sleep.

There are also other symptoms you may experience while you’re awake if you have sleep bruxism:

  • Facial or jaw pain and stiffness
  • Clicking, popping, or grinding sounds when moving your jaw
  • A headache
  • Loose, sensitive, or worn teeth
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or ear pain

What causes bruxism?

There are several factors that could cause bruxism.

Primary Bruxism

Primary bruxism is its own form and does not result from another condition. It is common in children because their teeth and jaw are growing. However, this form of bruxism usually resolves itself as children continue to grow.

Misaligned Bite and Teeth

A misaligned bite or missing teeth could cause bruxism as well. It can contribute to mouth irritation and grinding or clenching.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can also be contributing factors to bruxism. When people get nervous, they respond differently, and sometimes they can unknowingly clench or grind their teeth.

In an interview with CTV News, the Ontario Alliance of Dentists president, Dr. Kal Khaled, said, “Tooth decay is accelerated by stress and poor life conditions, such as not sleeping or eating well.”

So, what should you do if you suspect bruxism?

If you suspect bruxism, don’t worry. There are ways to prevent it so you can take care of your teeth and protect them against decay and wearing.


While mouthguards may not be aesthetically pleasing, they can help you if you struggle with sleep bruxism. 

Ask your dentist about a customer mouthguard or purchase an over-the-counter mouthguard. If you get an over-the-counter mouthguard, be sure to consult your dentist about which brand or style would be best for you and your teeth.

This will reduce strain on your jaw and allow you to rest easier without grinding your teeth.

Reductive or Additive Coronoplasty

Reductive or additive coronoplasty is a dental procedure that is used to reshape or level out any tooth misalignment. Reductive or additive coronoplasty is common if your bruxism is due to crowded, misaligned, or crooked teeth.

Talk to your dentist about your options for reductive or additive coronoplasty.

Techniques for Dealing with Stress

Sometimes bruxism is a product of anxiety, stress, or depression. If this is the case, take time to practice self care. 

Some forms of self care include: 

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Talk therapy
  • Exercise 
  • Journaling

Whatever works for you, prioritize your mental health. When you prioritize taking care of yourself, your oral health will improve. 

If these practices do not work, be sure to consult your dentist on what your next steps should look like to try and fix bruxism.

How Cobblestone Park Family Dental Can Help you!

Here at Cobblestone Park Family Dental, we’re dedicated to you and your oral health. We care about you and your smile.

If you suspect awake or sleep bruxism, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Our team is here to help and make sure your smile is happy and healthy along the way. Schedule an appointment with Cobblestone Park Family Dental. Contact us by calling (405) 603-8520 today.