Teeth grinding, or bruxism, refers to excessive grinding of the teeth or excessive clenching of the jaw, usually occurring when one sleeps. If you wake up with jaw pain, tension headaches or facial pain, you may be suffering from bruxism. Some people aren’t even aware they are grinding or clenching their teeth at night until a visit to us reveals significant tooth enamel loss or damage to restorations.

BruxismTension, stress and anxiety experienced during the daytime can carry over to an individual’s sleep and lead the person to grind his or her teeth together or clench the teeth unknowingly. Regardless of the cause, however, frequent clenching and grinding wears down the chewing surfaces of the teeth, reduces tooth enamel and can result in a cracked or chipped tooth, crown or filling.

Treatment Options

Fortunately, there is a non-invasive and effective solution for teeth grinding and the tooth enamel damage it can cause in custom-fabricated night guards. Night guards are created through a non-invasive process that includes taking an impression of the bottom and top rows of teeth. The result is a night guard that is flexible, comfortable and personalized to your mouth.

Although it’s important to wear your night guard faithfully if you grind your teeth at night, you can also follow a few self-care tips to help prevent your teeth grinding get worse.

  • Reduce tension and stress. Whether you take a warm bath before bed, listen to soothing music or exercise, practicing stress-relieving activities can help alleviate tension.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine. In some patients, alcohol and caffeine can increase teeth-grinding tendencies.
  • Focus on relaxing jaw muscles. Make a conscious effort to keep your jaw relaxed. A warm washcloth against your cheek, sticking your tongue between your teeth, and avoiding chewing pencils, pens and gum are all ways to train the muscles of your jaw to stay relaxed. Remember: lips together, teeth apart!

Because you may have bruxism and be unaware of it until complications develop, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of bruxism and to seek regular dental care. If you suspect that bruxism is the cause for your headaches or jaw pain, please contact Austin Dentistry at 512-600-3535 and schedule an appointment with our dentists in Austin, Texas.