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How to fix Bruxism

Teeth Grinding cures at WiSE Dental Clinic

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What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is the medical term for what is more commonly known as “teeth grinding”. Bruxism is a non-functional habit characterised by involuntary clenching, grinding, grating and gnashing of the teeth, and symptoms are not always displayed in ways that are immediately noticeable. It is a condition that people suffer from without even knowing because it often happens as you sleep.

Bruxism is surprisingly a common condition that generally occurs during the night, however it can also occur during the daytime, or both. Night Bruxism or sleep bruxism is usually associated with grinding and may generate a loud grating sound. Often people are unaware of their night bruxism and are alerted to their night time teeth grinding by their partners. Daytime bruxism is more commonly associated with clenching of the teeth and jaws, rather than grinding, and is usually silent. While awake, it can be exhibited subconsciously while concentrating or during heavy exercising.

While some people have the benefit of their partners (or family members) hearing their night bruxism and telling them about it, others often will become aware of their bruxism when they start experiencing more advanced symptoms such as tooth aches, jaw pain, headaches, and worn down/sensitive teeth.

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Do I have bruxism? How do I know if I grind my teeth?

More and more, dentists are seeing patients with dental conditions often associated with stress: teeth grinding, clenching, chipped and cracked teeth, and symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD) such as jaw pain and headaches.

The primary symptoms of teeth grinding include:

  • Jaw soreness and/or ear pain

  • Stiffness in the face and templates (particularly when you have just woken up)

  • Sore jaws while you’re chewing, biting or yawning (particularly at breakfast time in the case of night bruxism, or late in the afternoon for daytime bruxism).

  • Teeth that have become loose

  • Fractured, chipped or broken teeth

  • Worn down enamel or flattened teeth (the outer layer of your teeth)

  • Tooth ache

  • Sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks

  • Dull headaches

  • Disrupted sleep

  • If you notice you are intensely clenching your jaw

What causes teeth grinding?

A popular belief is that teeth grinding is caused by stress. However, teeth grinding can be caused not just by stress and anxiety but by sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or teeth that are misaligned or missing. The fact is that the causes of teeth grinding is not always straightforward. Causes may be either physical or psychological, or a mixture of both.

Psychological disorders:

Psychological causes are not limited to stress or anxiety. They can include a wide plethora of emotions such as anger, fear, frustration or tension. Psychological factors can be brought on by illness, poor nutrition and long-term pain. For some, bruxism may be a coping strategy or habit exhibited during deep concentration. In some cases, the grinding may initially be caused by a psychological reason, but then a regular habit may form over time.

Physical causes:

The physical causes of bruxism are likely related to malocclusion. Malocclusion is a misaligned bite and can be caused by many factors which include: missing or crooked teeth, jaw misalignment, or an underbite. In a misaligned bite, the upper and lower jaws come together but the teeth don’t fit together comfortably, so you overcompensate and try to force them into a perfect bite. Teeth grinding has also been associated with some forms of sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea.

Other factors:

Other factors that might contribute to night grinding specifically, include your caffeine intake and your daytime chewing or grinding habits (voluntarily or subconsciously).

A lesser known but widely studied cause of teeth grinding is alcohol or tobacco consumption. A 2016 study in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that people who drink alcohol and/or smokers are approximately twice as likely to grind their teeth. People who suffer from bruxism may also experience general tiredness if their sleep has been disturbed by night grinding.

Besides the factors mentioned above, some other causes behind teeth grinding include:

  • Age: bruxism is common amongst young children

  • Personality or personality disorders: competitive or hyperactive 

  • Medications

  • Family history

  • Use of illegal drugs 

  • Other medical disorders such as sleep-related disorders including sleep apnoea

Treatments for teeth grinding.

The most appropriate treatment for your individual condition will depend on what causes you to grind your teeth. We can investigate the causes behind your teeth grinding when you visit our Robina, Gold Coast dental practice.

There are four main treatments for teeth grinding:

  1. Mouthguards: This is the most popular solution for teeth grinding. If you suffer from night bruxism, a custom-fitted and durable plastic mouthguard can be professionally designed and manufactured for you. This mouthguard is worn on your upper teeth, just like a sports mouthguard, while you sleep. The function of the mouthguard is to reduce the pressure of tooth grinding and to shield your teeth from further damage by preventing them from grinding against each other (on the chewing surfaces)

  2. Orthodontic or restorative dental treatments: If malocclusion is the reason behind your bruxism, we are able to make adjustments to your teeth through either orthodontic (e.g. braces) or restorative (e.g. dental crowns) treatments. This will create a more balanced bite, and may reduce or rectify the subconscious effort you are making. This method eliminates the problem of subconsciously taking out your mouthguard in your sleep, losing your mouthguard or a phobia or general discomfort with a foreign body in your mouth.

  3. Muscle relaxant injections: Although this method does not cure bruxism, muscle relaxant injections may effectively control the symptoms. By injecting small doses of the treatment directly into the masseter muscle (the large muscle that moves the jaw), the muscle is relaxed enough to stop the involuntary grinding of the teeth, and clenching of the jaw. Voluntary movements, such as chewing and facial expressions, will not be affected by the treatment. The effects of this painless treatment lasts around 4 months and there is no downtime.

  4. Supplementary treatments: If the main factors contributing to your bruxism are psychological, it may be beneficial to involve other health professionals in your treatment of both the causes and symptoms of your bruxism. Other health professionals can include your GP or a referred psychologist, as well as your dentist.

Don’t let your teeth grinding habit destroy your teeth! Don’t let bruxism negatively impact your quality of life either. If you are concerned about your teeth grinding, we’ll be happy to take a look at your mouth and teeth and detect any signs of it. Our dentists at our Robina-based dental clinic are highly experienced in the effective treatment of bruxism or TMJD and we can help you devise a unique treatment plan to solve your teeth grinding issues. 

When should I see a dentist about bruxism?

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and particularly if you have pain in your mouth, jaw, face, ears or neck from grinding your teeth, you should talk with your dentist. Don’t wait until the pain is severe or starts to become unbearable!


Night bruxism can cause serious harm to your oral and sleep health, and a health professional like a dentist can help prevent more serious problems down the road.

A dentist can help you identify if your teeth grinding occurs alongside other conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which may require further testing or treatment.

If for any reason you suspect you are grinding your teeth but are unsure if you are suffering from bruxism, we recommend that you see our dentists at our Gold Coast dental practice. 

Should I be concerned if my child grinds their teeth?

Bruxism is not only an adult ailment. Teeth grinding is also common in children. However, because a child’s teeth and jaws change and grow quite rapidly, it is not necessarily a damaging habit that requires dental treatment. Fortunately, most children with bruxism outgrow it by adolescence (when they’ve lost their baby teeth).

While in the majority of adult cases, teeth grinding is often the result of stress, the same is not always true with children. When children grind their teeth, it could be because of:

  • Allergies

  • An irritation in the mouth

  • Misaligned teeth

  • Stress

Many children who grind their teeth aren’t even aware of it. It is often their siblings or parents who identify the problem. Some signs to watch out for are:

  • Complaints of a sore jaw or face after waking up in the morning

  • Grinding noises when your child is sleeping

  • Pain with chewing

If you are concerned about your child’s teeth grinding, you can visit us at WiSE Dental Clinic. Our dentists come highly experienced in paediatric dentistry and our practice has servicing Gold Coast has countless child patients. The consultation will involve:

  1. Examining your child’s teeth for chipped enamel and unusual or excessive wear and tear, and spray air and water on the teeth to check for unusual sensitivity. 

  2. If damage is found, our dentist may ask your child some questions such as:

    • What do you do before bed?

    • How do you feel before bed?

    • Are you angry with someone?

    • Are you worried about anything at home or school?

  3. This exam will help the dentist determine whether the causes are physical (e.g. misaligned teeth) or psychological (stress). If necessary, we will then discuss with you possible solutions and devise the most effective treatment plan

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