Teeth Grinding: Causes and Treatment


Do you ever wake up with a painful jaw? Do you frequently wake up with a headache? Has a friend or family member ever told you that you grind your teeth at night? Bruxism, often known as teeth grinding, is a reasonably common problem that many people experience. Most people clench or grind their teeth occasionally, but if it becomes a habit, it can harm your oral health and should be addressed.

Why Do People Grind Their Teeth at Night?

It is known that typically daytime clenching is prompted by stress, anxiety, tension, and even concentration. However, nighttime grinding is typically related to sleep apnea, acid reflux, and can appear as a side effect of certain medications. Additionally, individuals that use tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, or illicit drugs are more at risk for teeth-grinding.

What Effects Can Teeth Grinding Have?

Teeth grinding can cause dental pain, headaches, tooth fractures, and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ Syndrome).

Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the complex joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull. It’s located on either side of your face, right in front of your ears, and is composed of both hinge-like and sliding mechanisms. TMJ disorder, or TMD, is a condition that affects your temporomandibular joint and/or the muscles and ligaments attached to it.

Treatment Options

Your dentist will typically outfit you with a night guard to prevent further damage to your teeth and jaw if you’re suffering bruxism, although this won’t stop the grinding. Depending on the cause of the bruxism, your medical provider may recommend the following treatments:

  • Botox (botulinum toxin) injections paralyze the jaw muscles that are used when your grind your teeth
  • Muscle relaxers have been shown to relax the jaw muscles and stop nighttime bruxism.
  • Your physician may recommend stress management, and relaxation training

If you’re suffering from bruxism or nighttime grinding, please do not wait—give us a call at 323.433.7744, or visit our contact page.