woman experiencing jaw pain from bruxism

There are countless ways people deal with and handle stress, anxiety, anger, or tension.

While some people resort to exercising to relieve some stress, others unwittingly begin grinding and clenching their teeth.

However, teeth clenching and grinding aren’t only due to overwhelming emotions but are most likely caused by an abnormal bite or crooking and missing teeth.

Occasional teeth grinding, which is medically described as bruxism, doesn’t raise much concern, as it’s not usually harmful. On the other hand, regular teeth grinding can be incredibly damaging to the teeth and can give rise to other oral health complications.

What is Bruxism?

Do you often find yourself clenching your jaw? Or waking up with sensitive teeth and a sore jaw?

Chances are, you suffer from either awake or sleep bruxism, which is a condition in which you grind, gnash, or clench your teeth unknowingly throughout the day.

man feeling pain from awake bruxism

Sleep bruxism, which is where you clench or grind your teeth in your sleep, is a sleep-related movement disorder. This condition may be more harmful since you’re not conscious and cannot realize what you are doing for hours until you wake up.

Bruxism commonly occurs when you’re unconscious, so it can be difficult to recognize it before it creates health complications. It’s important to know its signs and symptoms and seek dental care before any complications develop.

Some of the most common symptoms associated with bruxism are:

  • Chipped, flattened, or fractured teeth
  • Tired and tight jaw muscles, or a jaw that won’t open or close fully
  • Dull headache at the temples
  • Pain that’s similar to earache, but has nothing to do with the ear
  • Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Jaw, face, and neck soreness

Of course, everyone experiences the symptoms in different levels of severity, depending on how mild or serious their condition is.

Why Is Bruxism Bad for Your Teeth?

It’s still not completely understood what causes bruxism, but medical professionals have theorized that this condition is due to a combination of physical, psychological, and genetic factors.

Bruxism often affects people who suffer from persistent stress and anxiety and have aggressive and overly competitive personalities.

The constant clenching and grinding can result in tooth fracturing, loosening, and even tooth loss. In the more severe cases, the teeth are reduced to stumps, and patients may need dental implants, crowns, bridges, or partial dentures to repair the damage.

result of bruxismOther than potential tooth loss, bruxism can cause terrible headaches, tooth sensitivity, and temporomandibular disorders.

In most cases, bruxism can be successfully treated using various methods. Depending on the cause of the condition, dental professionals may prescribe treatments involving behavioural changes, special mouthguards, or biofeedback.

Behavioural changes include learning how to rest your teeth, tongue, and lips properly. Psychologists may also be called to help identify triggers that bring about the negative emotions that cause the continuous grinding of teeth.


You may also be fitted for a mouthguard that can be worn during the night to absorb the force of the biting and clenching. The mouthguard can also be worn during the day if the patient suffers from awake bruxism.

Biofeedback involves using an instrument that measures the amount of muscle activity in the mouth and jaw. Once there is too much activity, the device will signal the patient and let them know that they should try and change their behaviour.

Bruxism Treatment At Pretoria Bridge Dental

Have you found yourself clenching or grinding your teeth without realizing it?

Teeth grinding and clenching is a common problem that affects many people who are constantly under stress and pressure. If left untreated, bruxism can cause critical oral health complications, which is something no one wants.

Before prescribing a treatment, our expert dentists will run some tests to determine whether you have awake or sleep bruxism and what are the causes behind it. Once a diagnosis is reached, a proper treatment plan is designed so that you can get the best results possible.

Get in touch with us to learn more about bruxism and book your appointment today.