5 Signs You May Have Bruxism

woman holding jaw-signs of bruxism

5 Signs You May Have Bruxism

Do you find yourself waking up with tooth and jaw pain? Has your partner complained that the sound of your teeth grinding is keeping them up? Are frequent headaches or unexplained dizziness becoming a part of your daily life? If you’ve nodded along to any of these questions, it’s time to pay a visit to your dentist. All of these symptoms could be signs of bruxism. 

What Is Bruxism?

Grinding, gnashing, and clenching your teeth is a condition called bruxism. You may subconsciously clench your teeth during the day, or grind them at night while you are asleep. While mild bruxism may not need treatment, severe cases can cause headaches, dizziness, worn enamel, broken teeth, and jaw pain or jaw disorders. 

There are two types of bruxism:

  1. Conscious Bruxism: This occurs when you consciously clench and grind your teeth throughout the day, often due to tension or stress.
  2. Unconscious Bruxism: The more common type, this involves grinding and clenching while asleep. It can cause significant harm, since you may not realize it is happening and therefore can’t prevent it.

Five Common Symptoms of Bruxism

There are many possible signs of bruxism, ranging from tooth sensitivity to dizziness. Your dentist might be the first one to spot the signs of bruxism, so don’t skip your checkups! Here are five of the most common symptoms to watch for:

1. Dental Pain

Tooth pain is one of the most common symptoms of bruxism. Excessive grinding and clenching strain your teeth, making them overly sensitive and painful. Additional dental problems associated with bruxism are:

  • Chipped, cracked, or loose teeth
  • Teeth that are flattened or abraded
  • Worn tooth enamel and exposed dentin

Whether or not bruxism is the cause, all of these symptoms mean you should visit the dentist right away. 

2. Jaw Pain

When you clench your jaw at night, you can exert up to 250 pounds of force without even realizing it. This pressure leads to jaw pain and jaw disorders. The following symptoms are clues that you may need to talk to your dentist about bruxism:

  • Jaw pain or soreness
  • A locked or dislocated jaw
  • Popping or clicking sound when you chew or open your mouth

Bruxism can sometimes lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), which causes chronic facial pain and prevents the bones, muscles, and joints in your jaw from working together properly.

3. Earaches and Dizziness

Otologic (ear-related) symptoms can also be signs of bruxism. While tooth and jaw pain are often the go-to when you think of bruxism signs, otologic symptoms are still some of the most commonly observed effects of bruxism. The stress that bruxism places on your jaw can cause dizziness as well as:

  • Tinnitus
  • Vertigo
  • Otalgia (sharp ear pain)

4. Facial Pain and Headaches

Gnashing your teeth, especially when you’re asleep and can’t stop yourself, can lead to a lot of facial and head pain. Frequent headaches, damaged tissue in your mouth, and facial pain are all causes of the uninhibited clenching and grinding that characterizes bruxism. Jaw tension can cause soreness and aches in your face muscles as well as symptoms like:

  • A dull headache 
  • Chewing damage on the inside of your cheeks
  • Tongue indentations

5. Sleep Disruption

Unconscious bruxism is often accompanied by other sleep disorders like sleep apnea. If you wake up feeling unrested and are exhibiting any of the above symptoms, your lack of quality sleep could be caused by bruxism. It is important to seek proper dental care so that sleep bruxism does not cause additional oral health problems in the future.

If you are experiencing any of these signs of bruxism, Hicks Dental Group can help you determine the best course of action. We’ll examine your mouth and jaw, and advise you on what the next steps are to treat your symptoms. We can also prevent future complications by providing you with strategies to stop grinding your teeth.

How to Prevent Bruxism

Preventing bruxism starts by determining the cause. Once you understand what the source of your teeth grinding is, you can take steps to prevent it. Common risk factors for developing bruxism include:

  • Increased stress and anxiety
  • Tobacco, alcohol, or recreational drug use
  • Excessive caffeine intake
  • Familial history of sleep bruxism
  • Mental health and medical disorders

You can start to prevent stress-related bruxism by limiting stimulants like caffeine and nicotine and seeking treatment for any underlying medical conditions. You should also avoid chewing gum as well as chewing on pens and other non-food items throughout the day.

Developing strategies to cope with anxiety is another important factor in taking care of your oral health. Stress can lead to many dental problems, so managing your stress can help you stop clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth.

To manage stress, try these strategies:

  • Regular exercise
  • Meditation or yoga
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Massage therapy

Sleep bruxism can be treated with a customized mouth guard to keep you from grinding your teeth through the night. If you have cracked or broken teeth from bruxism, your dentist may recommend they be treated with crowns or bridges.

Bruxism Treatment in Prescott

If dizziness, headaches, or tooth and jaw pain are preventing you from living your life comfortably, schedule an appointment today. Hicks Dental Group in Prescott, Arizona, is a family-owned practice dedicated to providing you with friendly and comprehensive dental treatment. With our bruxism prevention and treatment options, we can help you get back your comfortable days and restful nights. 

Our team is knowledgeable and patient-oriented. We make it our goal to understand your needs and concerns so we can customize a treatment plan that’s right for you. Call our office at 928-445-6030 to talk to our expert team about bruxism treatment and prevention.