Bruxism – What is it?


Commonly known as teeth grinding, bruxism is a common habit which can result in excessive wear and damage to the teeth. Typically caused by stress, most people are unaware they have an issue until a partner, friend or family member tell them that they seem to be clenching or grinding their teeth. People of all ages can experience bruxism, and it is important to discuss the issue as early as possible to avoid serious dental complications arising in the future. In this blog post, iSmile Dentistry will be sharing some insight into the common causes, symptoms and treatment options available for bruxism. 

Common Causes of Bruxism

Bruxism is usually caused by stress, but it can also happen unconsciously during sleep. It is not uncommon to see children clenching and grinding their jaw when nervous or stressed, and this habit often carries through to adulthood. With students and working professionals often spending long hours behind computer screens, the intense concentration and focus can result in unconscious clenching and grinding. 

Dentists often treat cases of bruxism among those with intense and/or stressful jobs. People with an abnormal bite may also grind their teeth, particularly during sleep. 

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Teeth Grinding

It is not uncommon for people to be unaware of their grinding, but your dentist will be able to immediately spot the tell-tale signs during a routine examination. People with a habit of teeth grinding typically show excessive wear on their teeth and may experience the following symptoms:

  • Jaw stiffness
  • Pain/sensitivity when consuming hot/cold food and beverages
  • Headache/earache
  • Toothache
  • Fracture of teeth 
  • Grinding or chattering sounds during periods of concentration or sleep
  • Clenching of teeth during intense concentration
  • Changes to facial features 

Treatment of Bruxism

Left untreated, bruxism can contribute to the development of tooth sensitivity, worn enamel, jaw pain (TMJ), headaches,loss of vertical dimension of occlusion, change of facial features and other issues. It is important to seek dental treatment as early as possible. 

Treatment typically involves regular dental visits and ongoing monitoring/ maintenance. Depending on the underlying cause, treatment may also encompass:

  • The use of a custom-made night splint worn during sleep 
  • Braces to correct the alignment of your teeth
  • Muscle relaxant injections
  • Behavioural therapy to reduce stress and promote mindfulness

Concerned about bruxism? Visit iSmile Dentistry Today

Bruxism is a common yet easily treated condition. Book an oral examination with iSmile Dentistry today and discover how we can help prevent and correct bruxism. Call us on (02) 9030 4310 or book an appointment online.  Our dental clinic in St Leonards is open Monday to Saturday, and we look forward to seeing you soon.