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Dental Bruxism: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

The bruxism is a disorder that involves grinding and clenching teeth involuntarily, both during the day and at night regularly, which can cause damage to your teeth and wear the enamel and even the dentin reaching Pulp exposure in very serious cases. In addition to these disorders, it can also cause other problems such as the jaw, ear pain and even frequent headaches or migraines.

People who suffer from it are called bruxomaniacs.  Here is a pretty good definition of the disorder:

At night, during sleep, the problem is more serious, since the patient is not aware of his action and, therefore, is even more difficult to control. This type of bruxism is considered one of the sleep disorders or parasomnia. However, even when awake many people do not realize that they are doing it, and it is those around them who warn.


Specialists agree that its main trigger is situated on the psychological level due to stress or a state of emotional agitation, although the causes that trigger it can be diverse such as:

  • Problems in the mandibular musculature.
  • Sleep habit.
  • Inability to relax
  • Malocclusion or dental crowding.


I reached out to a Durham dentist to find an answer to this question and I was told it affects both sexes indistinctly and at any age, but usually occurs more frequently between 15 and 25 years. Depending on the way the teeth are pressed, bruxism can be:

  • Eccentric: the teeth make movements from front to back causing wear on the enamel, affecting the incisors to a greater extent.
  • Central: the teeth are clenched on a specific point, and the area that is most affected are the necks of the teeth.

One of the main symptoms that bruxism can cause is to exert excessive overload on the muscles, tissues and structures surrounding the jaw. If it extends over time, it can become chronic and affect the temporomandibular joints (which are two joints, one on each side of the head, that join the jaw with the skull and allow us to chew). The main symptoms are:

  • Earache and tinnitus (acoustic sensations such as ringing or clinking, not caused by an external auditory stimulus)
  • Pain and inflammation of the temporomandibular joint
  • Muscle pain.
  • Sensitivity to sweet, cold and hot things.

The ideal treatment will always be related to the cause since the objective is to treat it from the root. The dentist is the one who will determine the potential cause of bruxism and, depending on the dental damage and the trigger, possibly recommend the use of a night splint to prevent its negative effects, reduce the pain caused and try to prevent damage from occurring irreversible dental Other measures that can be taken to attack the underlying cause are:

  • Perform relaxation exercises to reduce stress.
  • Avoid hard foods.
  • Perform orthodontic treatment.
  • Sleep the recommended hours.
  • Refer a physiotherapist specialized in the temporomandibular joint.

The UK NHS has a great resource on treating bruxism that you can read here:


They are resin devices, created from some molds of our own mouth, personal and non-transferable. These devices help release the tension accumulated during the day and protect dental structures during tightening. Although the splint is usually placed at night before bedtime, it can and should also be worn during the day in case of the most severe cases.

Since, as mentioned before, the splint does not suppress the patient’s habit of clenching the teeth, but avoids its pernicious effects and, when removed, can cause discomfort.

Once delivered and adjusted, a second visit to the dentist will be necessary a week to make the necessary adjustments and thus achieve the desired occlusal contact and avoid any unwanted dental interference.


The causes that cause bruxism are not always clear, although, in a large percentage of patients, these reasons are related to some of the signs that we mentioned earlier. Thus, many times stress is the cause of its appearance. At other times it is due to a malocclusion, that is, bad alignment of the teeth.

In most cases, dental alignment and a reduction in stress level are recommended, but bruxism, its cause and its solution may occur in the long term. That is, without proper treatment, we can help reduce bruxism, but not solve it if we don’t find the root of the matter.


We talk about a disorder that can cause problems of various types. Those directly related to the teeth and jaws are the following:

  • Dental wear, cracks and breakage of parts.
  • Hypersensitivity and dental pain.
  • Muscle overload.

Similarly, this pathology can lead to other side effects :

  • Headaches (even headaches).
  • Sleep disorders.
  • Cervical problems
  • Earache.
  • In some more severe cases, bruxism can cause peripheral vertigo and dizziness.


The therapies that are applied to treat bruxism are aimed at reducing pain, preventing tooth wear and permanent damage to the jaw and reducing teeth grinding (

The mouth guards and splints are frequently used to prevent bruxism while sleeping. This method helps prevent damage to teeth and problems in the temporomandibular joint.

However, although they are widely used, these devices do not solve the problem and, even if they eliminate the pain, if they stop using it, it will reappear.

Other measures that can be taken are:

  • Avoid hard foods and sweets.
  • Perform relaxation exercises that help reduce patient stress.
  • Apply ice or hot cloths to the area where the pain is located.
  • Massage the affected area.
  • Sleep the recommended hours.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Perform orthodontics to align the teeth.

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