Battling Bruxism: Strategies For Improved Oral Health

Do you wake up to severe headaches or neck strain? Do you feel a tingling pain in your jaws? This could be a sign of bruxism. It is a condition characterized by involuntary clenching or grinding of your teeth. 

Bethesda, MD dentist and the team are experienced in providing high-quality care to manage bruxism. 

What is bruxism? How common is it?

Bruxism is defined as a dental condition that is characterized by an involuntary clenching or grinding of the teeth. This could probably occur when you are awake (awake bruxism) or during your sleep (sleep bruxism). Occasional teeth grinding is considered normal, but persistent clenching can hurt your teeth, jaws, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ). 

Bruxism is considered a common sleep problem with a prevalence of 10% among adults and 15% among children. 

What are the adverse effects of teeth grinding?

Teeth grinding can cause several problems, such as:

  • Wearing down of teeth
  • Fractured or loosened teeth
  • Damage to your TMJ, jaw, and neck muscles
  • Loss of teeth
  • Aesthetic problems due to changes in your facial profile

What causes bruxism?

Bruxism has multiple causes to it, depending on your age, including:

Causes in adults 

  • Sleep disorders
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Lifestyle habits like smoking and alcoholism
  • Consumption of recreational drugs and excess caffeine 
  • Certain medications like anti-anxiety drugs 

Causes in children 

  • Malaligned teeth
  • Pain such as earache
  • Stress 
  • Medical conditions like hyperactivity or cerebral palsy

What are the symptoms of bruxism?

Signs and symptoms of teeth grinding include:

  • Headaches 
  • TMJ pain 
  • Ear pain 
  • Aching teeth, especially after waking up
  • Wearing down the enamel of the teeth 
  • Aching in the jaws while chewing 
  • Clicking or popping sound in the TMJ
  • Jaw stiffness
  • Myofascial pain
  • Highly sensitive teeth 
  • Tooth indentations 

How is bruxism treated?

Here are some common ways in which bruxism is treated:

  • Conservative methods 
    • Relaxation exercises
    • Stress management techniques like yoga
  • Mouthguards/Nightguards
    • These are acrylic appliances that are fabricated from tooth impressions.
    • These help to minimize the abrasive action of tooth surfaces during sleep.
    • These devices also help stabilize the occlusion and prevent damage to the teeth and TMJ
  • NTI-tss device
    • This device is designed to fit your front teeth.
    • NTI-tss helps to prevent the grinding of the rear molars by limiting the contraction of the temporalis muscle.
  • Botox injections 
    • This is an excellent neuromodulator that aids in the relaxation of the facial muscles that have been weakened due to bruxism.
  • Other treatments 
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy
    • Physical therapy 


Bruxism or teeth grinding is a common condition with many possible causes in both children and adults. Treating it early, is important to avoid dental complications.

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