Stephens City Family Dentistry - Caring Family Dentistry

General Dentistry.

Bruxism Treatment

Bruxism (BRUK-siz-um) is a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. If you have bruxism, you may unconsciously clench your teeth when you're awake (awake bruxism) or clench or grind them during sleep (sleep bruxism).

Defining And Identifying

The simple act of grinding or clenching your teeth together isn’t necessarily a hazard to your dental health. However, by its definition, bruxism is involuntary, and you may not notice that you grind your teeth often enough for it to be a problem. When you do it consistently, the friction and pressure can cause undue wear on your teeth’s surfaces, making them weak and potentially throwing your bite off balance. If not treated, teeth-grinding can also lead to:

  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Cracked or fractured teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • And in some cases, TMJ disorder

If you catch yourself grinding your teeth during the day, or experience increasing teeth sensitivity, then we can perform an examination and prescribe appropriate bruxism treatment, if necessary.


Signs and symptoms of bruxism may include:

  • Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to wake up your sleep partner
  • Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped or loose
  • Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth
  • Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Tired or tight jaw muscles, or a locked jaw that won’t open or close completely
  • Jaw, neck or face pain or soreness
  • Pain that feels like an earache, though it’s actually not a problem with your ear
  • Dull headache starting in the temples
  • Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek
  • Sleep disruption

Common Treatments For Bruxism

Because bruxism most-often occurs at night, bruxism treatment often involves a custom-designed oral appliance, or sleepguard, that protects your teeth from each other while you sleep. The sleepguard is similar to a mouthguard worn when playing sports, and will help your jaws relax as well as buffer your teeth from grinding against each other. If your bruxism is caused by an underlying condition, like a jaw disorder, then we might suggest a procedure to restore your bite’s balance, like TMJ treatment.

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