Teeth Grinding: Causes, Effects, and Prevention Techniques

Teeth Grinding: Causes, Effects, and Prevention Techniques

Barotz Dental | September 30, 2019
Teeth Grinding: Causes, Effects, and Prevention Techniques

Grinding your teeth can cause serious damage to your teeth and jaw, but understanding what bruxism is can help you intervene before it is too late. Bruxism is a medical condition that causes the grinding or gnashing of your teeth. This can be involuntary and happen while you sleep or when you are awake. Many individuals don’t even realize that they are grinding their teeth but just know that their jaw is persistently tired or achy.

The Underlying Causes

Unfortunately, doctors don’t fully understand the causes of bruxism. Some of the current theories are that it is caused by a combination of physical, psychological or genetic factors. There are two basic types of bruxism: Awake and Asleep.

Awake Bruxism – This disorder is believed to be associated with stress or other psychological factors. Additionally, there have been connections that suggest Awake bruxism can lead to Asleep Bruxism too. Awake Bruxism can be easier to identify because patients are more aware of moments when they grind their teeth. Of course, this can also become an ingrained habit and patients may have no recollection of any type of grinding or clenching.

Asleep Bruxism – This type of teeth grinding can be the most difficult to diagnose because the only symptom patients may have is a sore jaw in the morning. Dentists may also be able to diagnose this type of Bruxism because patients may have premature wear patterns on their teeth.

There are some associated risk factors that can help you identify if you have a higher potential for bruxism. These include stress, young age (usually resolves with time), aggressive or hyperactive personalities, some medication types, tobacco use, alcohol use, family history, some mental disorders such as Parkinson’s, ADHD or dementia.

Effects Caused by Bruxism

The effects of grinding your teeth can be wide-ranging in severity or duration. However, these effects include:

  • Grinding or clenching that wakes your partner
  • Grinding or clenching that wakes you
  • Flattened, chipped or cracked teeth
  • Worn enamel exposing the layers of the tooth
  • Tooth sensitivity or pain
  • Locked jaw
  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Damage to the inside of your cheek

If you recognize that you have any of these symptoms, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Denver, Co to evaluate the extent of Bruxism. Additionally, if you notice that your children are grinding, you should get an appointment scheduled with their dentist in Denver, CO and discuss your concerns.

Available Treatments

Fortunately, the treatments to correct bruxism are often simple and effective. Your Denver dentist must first diagnose bruxism. Diagnosis can be helped if you make sure to bring up any of the concerns or risk factors that are specific to your case. Additionally, your dentist can identify bruxism during a regular exam, so be sure to see your dentist when regularly scheduled.

Once bruxism is diagnosed, there are several treatment options that are available to you. Typically, a dental correction is to wear splints or get dental night guards. The dental guards are specifically fit for you to ensure that they are tight and don’t interfere with your breathing. Additionally, these night guards also stay in place better than an over the counter option.

If your bruxism is caused by psychological issues, you may also want to visit with a mental health professional in order to treat the underlying causes. Additionally, you can work on reducing the amount of stress or changing your diet to eliminate some of the risk factors that may be present in your specific case.


Bruxism can be a serious medical issue if it is not promptly treated. Over time, bruxism can lead to premature wear or damage to your teeth that may require extensive medical aid. However, identifying the warning signs early can help to reduce any long-term effects and help you treat your teeth well. If you think that you may have bruxism, call your Denver Dentist, Barotz Dental at 720-573-1500  to schedule an appointment with our office and discuss your concerns.