Bruxism – Tooth Grinding

Bruxism – Tooth Grinding

Does your spouse complain about the strange noises you make at night?  Do you wake up still tired, with a sore jaw?  Do you suffer from tension headaches?  Do your teeth always seem to be chipping and breaking?  You may be suffering from bruxism, or tooth grinding.

Studies have shown that up to 1/3 of the population suffers from chronic bruxism, and that 85-90% of people grind their teeth at some point during their life.


  • Tight, painful jaw muscles (especially in the a.m.)
  • Dull a.m. headaches
  • Pain/discomfort around the ears when chewing/yawning
  • Sensitive, cracked, and/or worn teeth


  • Body’s reaction to poor tooth alignment
  • Consuming stimulants (e.g. caffeine)


  • Migraine headaches
  • Joint damage – TMJ
  • Damage to teeth and existing dental work
  • Chronic tooth sensitivity, tooth mobility (loose teeth)
  • …and eventual tooth loss!


anterior bite planeGenerally, as a first and sometimes only step, the pain and discomfort from bruxism (tooth grinding) is alleviated using a custom dental occlusal guard (night guard).  This appliance also protects the teeth from further wear damage. Pictured to the right is anAnterior Bite Plane (AKA occlusal guard/night guard), the appliance we most often prescribe for patients at NFD.

Other methods to treat the symptoms and prevent further damage may include:

  • Relaxation methods
  • TMJ Botox
  • Orthodontics
  • Train yourself to keep your lips sealed, but your teeth apart.  Try to relax your jaw throughout the day.  This will help to raise awareness of your habit, and keep you from doing damage during the day.

Kids and bruxism

Studies have shown that 15-38% of kids grind their teeth.  This phenomenon could be related to growth, teething, or coping with earaches or other illnesses.  However, kids who do this tend to outgrow the habit by adolescence.

And, yes, Bruxism runs in families!!

If you suffer from any of these symptoms, let us know! We can help. Protect your teeth from future damage and wear a night guard!

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