Bruxism (Tooth Grinding): Can It Cause Severe Toothache?

Bruxism (Tooth Grinding): Can It Cause Severe Toothache?

Dec 01, 2021

Do you grind your teeth when you are nervous? Or do you find yourself clenching your teeth during the day? Or perhaps do you do it when you are asleep? If your response is a resounding yes, then you could be suffering from bruxism.

Jaw clenching and teeth grinding are common, and approximately one in three people suffer from bruxism. This habit is not friendly to your teeth and can come with other complications that can harm your oral health. You might deal with jaw issues, neck pain, toothaches, and even headaches.

Bruxism Overview

Habitually grinding, clenching, or gnashing your teeth is known as bruxism. There are scenarios when you may unconsciously grind, clench, or gnash your teeth when you are awake, referred to as awake bruxism.

On the other hand, some people grind or clench their teeth when they are asleep. This is known as sleep bruxism.

In most cases, mild bruxism may not need treatment. But, some people may need treatment since it might lead to damaged teeth, temporomandibular joint disorder, among other issues.

But if you have sleep bruxism, you may not know that you are suffering from the condition until certain complications arise. Therefore, you may need to know the symptoms associated with bruxism to get the care you need from our dentist.

Teeth Grinding Symptoms

Your chewing or grinding force is usually immense. Therefore, when you habitually grind your teeth, you put a lot of pressure on the tissues, muscles, and other surrounding structures. So, you can peel your eyes for the following symptoms:

  • Worn tooth enamel, which exposes the deeper layers of your teeth
  • Teeth grinding that can be loud enough to wake up a sleep partner
  • Jaw, face, or neck soreness and pain
  • Sleep disruption
  • Pain that may seem like an earache, but there is no problem with your ear
  • Increased toothache and tooth sensitivity
  • Dull headaches that start in the temples
  • Tight or tired jaw muscles or even locked jaws
  • Damage from chewing on the inside parts of your cheeks
  • Flattened, fractured, loose, or chipped teeth

What Causes Bruxism?

The exact cause of bruxism is not yet fully understood. However, it can be a combination of psychological, physical, and genetic factors. Some of the causes of bruxism can be:

  • Anxiety or stress. An increased level of stress or anxiety may cause teeth-grinding. Also, anger and frustration can trigger bruxism
  • Personality type. Bruxism is known to be linked to certain personality types, especially people who have aggressive, hyperactive, or competitive personalities
  • Family history. Bruxism can also be passed on from one generation to the next.
  • Medications and other substances- Some medicines, such as psychiatric medications, may cause bruxism as an uncommon side effect. Also, if you smoke tobacco or use recreational drugs,you may increase the chances of suffering from bruxism
  • Other disorders. Some mental health disorders such as dementia, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, among others, are linked to bruxism

Awake bruxism usually arises due to emotions such as frustration, anger, stress, or even tension. Or it might be a coping mechanism during deep concentration.

On the other hand, sleep bruxism is more of a sleep-related movement disorder. In most cases, grinding your teeth while you are asleep may be associated with arousals during sleep. In other words, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, which causes snoring and breathing pauses.

Bruxism Pain Relief

Toothaches and tension-type headaches can disrupt your way of life. So, if you experience the symptoms above, reach out to our dentist.

When you visit us, our dentist will perform exams to find out the exact cause of bruxism. If major sleep issues cause bruxism, then you may be referred to a sleep specialist. However, treatment may be as follows:

  • Dental correction. This means that our dentist may reshape your teeth or use crowns to repair the damage since tooth wear is a common symptom of clenching teeth
  • Mouthguards and splints. These dental appliances are used to keep your teeth separated to ensure that there is no damage caused by clenching teeth

Other Approaches

You may also need to try the following strategies:

  • Anxiety or stress management. If stress is the reason for the habit, learning how to manage anxiety and stress may help change the habit
  • Behavior change. If you know the cause of bruxism, then actively seeking to change your habit may help you position your mouth appropriately

Medications can also help deal with bruxism, such as:

  • Stress medication
  • Muscle relaxants may also help
  • Dental Botox® injections may be beneficial if you don’t respond to the other treatments

If you have bruxism, our dentist can help. Contact us at Golnick Pediatric Dentistry to schedule an appointment.

Taylor: 313-292-7777

West Bloomfield: 248-668-0022

Bloomfield Hills: 248-647-8656