Dentistry for the Entire Family in Fridley MN
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Teeth Grinding & Clenching (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism,  is a condition in which you grind and /or clench your teeth together. Many of us unknowingly grind or clench our teeth during sleep. Depending on the suspected underlying cause, teeth grinding and/or teeth clenching may be considered pathologic.

What is the difference between teeth grinding and teeth clenching?

Teeth grinding and teeth clenching are both forms of a medical condition called bruxism.
Teeth Grinding is when a person’s jaw movements move side to side, or forwards and backwards while held together. These movements are audible to a sleeping partner.
Teeth clenching is when a person’s jaws are held tightly together with increased pressure as if they’re biting down real hard. Teeth clenching is not audible.
Bruxism Illustration

Who is susceptible to bruxism?

Teeth grinding impacts people of all ages. In fact, several sources estimate as many as 80% of us have a history of teeth grinding and/or clenching of our teeth.

  • Toddlers
  • Children
  • Teenagers
  • Adults


Why do people grind their teeth?

Stress and Teeth Grinding

While the cause of teeth grinding is not known for sure, much of the research to date indicates stress is likely the biggest contributing factor that causes us to grind and or clench our teeth.

  • Teeth grinding may be situational, episodic, or cyclical
  • Teeth grinding is often more prevalent during growth and development
  • Teeth grinding may be symptomatic in people with malocclusion (teeth out of alignment)
  • People with high levels of stress have a higher incidence of teeth grinding both during the day and during sleep
  • People with sleep disorders such as snoring, sleep apnea, or chronic insomnia have a higher incidence for teeth grinding
  • Teeth grinding may be indicative of an undiagnosed medical condition
  • Episodes of teeth grinding may increase while taking certain prescription medications
  • Lifestyle habits including: smoking, use of smokeless tobacco, and drinking caffeinated beverages or alcohol have been shown to increase the incidence of teeth grinding


What are the side effects of teeth grinding?

Teeth Grinding is also known as Bruxism Photo source: Pinterest

The effects of teeth grinding vary among people. The picture above highlights a moderate case of teeth grinding. This edges of this person’s teeth appear severely worn, uneven, and shorter than adjacent teeth.

  • Impact the visible aesthetics of your teeth: uneven, jagged, or chipped edges
  • Impact the integrity and longevity of existing dental restorations
  • Cause facial pain including tension headaches or migraines
  • Onset of TMJ related disorders: muscle spasms and/or clicking sounds when opening or closing your mouth
  • Impact the alignment of teeth
  • Cause gum recession
  • Cause teeth to become sensitive while chewing and to temperature
  • May increase the risk for acid reflux disease which increases your risk for tooth decay


Symptoms of teeth grinding

Symptoms of teeth grinding

Symptoms vary widely among people diagnosed with bruxism. Frequency and intensity are two variables that impact your symptoms.

  • You awake in the middle of the night with jaw and/or teeth pain
  • TMJ jaw pain such as muscle soreness, or problems opening or closing your mouth
  • Unexplained facial pain
  • Experience chronic headaches or migraines
  • Visible wear on the chewing surfaces of your teeth
  • New areas of gum recession
  • Your spouse or a family member questions or tells you that you grind your teeth

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the above symptoms for more than two (2) weeks, it is best to schedule a exam with your dentist. Call (763) 586-9988 or click the green button below to request an appointment.

Click to Request an Appointment

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) Diagnosis  & Treatment

Your dentist will check for signs of bruxism as part of your dental examination including:

  • Evaluate your TMJ joint
  • Look for unusual teeth chewing surface wear
  • Examine your bite and teeth alignment
  • Check for area of receding gums
  • Review of changes in gum disease measurements

***It not uncommon for toddlers, kids, and teenagers to grind and/or clench their teeth during growth and development. 
If your dentist suspects or finds evidence of bruxism, they’ll recommend to wear a bruxism mouthguard during sleep. Additionally, they will discuss various home remedies for you to try.


Teeth Grinding Mouthguard

Fabrication of bruxism mouthguard

The fabrication of a bruxism mouthguard requires two, short dental visits.

  • First appointment: Take an impression of your top teeth that will be used to fabricate a bruxism mouthguard
  • Second appointment: Try in and evaluate the fit of your mouthguard


How to use your bruxism mouthguard

your dentist will review with you when and how frequently to wear your mouthguard. Generally speaking, our dentists recommend for you to wear your mouthguard nightly during sleep.

How to care for your teeth grinding mouthguard

With use, your teeth mouthguard will accumulate and harbor plaque from being worn overnight in your mouth.
Mouthguard care home instructions

  • Soak your mouthguard after use in a glass of cool temperature water with a denture cleaning tablet (for purchase in the dental aisle) for about 20 minutes.
  • Afterwards, use a toothbrush to clean mouthguard and rinse with cool water.
  • Avoid using hot water. This will distort and alter the fit of your mouthguard.
  • While mouthguard is soaking, wash storage container with soapy water and dry thoroughly to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Keep mouthguard in storage case until next use.
  • Store mouthguard in storage case out of reach from children and pets.

***Bring your mouthguard with to your teeth cleaning appointments. Your dental hygienist will professionally clean, inspect your mouthguard for wear, and check the fit for retention. 


DIY teeth grinding remedies

Lifestyle changes

  • Reduce your daily stress. Perhaps try meditation or yoga
  • Exercise daily
  • Abstain from smoking and smokeless tobacco

Dietary changes

  • Avoid stimulating food and beverages in the evening
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Avoid evening high sugar desserts

Sleep hygiene

  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Sleep in a cool, dark room
  • Invest in a supportive, comfortable pillow
  • Avoid watching television that evokes strong emotions

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the above symptoms for more than two (2) weeks, it is best to schedule a exam with your dentist. Call (763) 586-9988 or click the green button below to request an appointment.
Click to Request an Appointment


Dentistry For the Entire Family

1099 East Moore Lake Drive

Fridley, MN 55432

Phone (763) 586-9988

Fax (763) 586-9977

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Wednesday 7:30am - 6:00pm

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Sunday Closed