Grinding and Clenching Teeth

Bruxism explained: Symptoms, causes and treatments

Do you ever find yourself waking up with a headache or a sore jaw? You may be suffering from a form of bruxism. Bruxism is a common condition where you may tense your jaw, or grind and clench your teeth.

Clenching happens when you hold your jaw and teeth together, whereas grinding involves repetitively moving your jaw while your teeth are held together.

This condition affects up to 40 million children and adults in the United States alone. So, how do you know if you suffer from grinding and clenching teeth, or bruxism?


Because bruxism generally occurs at night, some individuals may not even be aware that they grind or clench their teeth.

Clenching teeth can cause:

  • Jaw or facial muscle pain
  • Teeth to break

Grinding teeth can cause:

  • Teeth to wear
  • Teeth destruction

If you suffer from bruxism, you may also experience:

  • Increased sensitivity to bite or temperature
  • Headaches
  • Sleep disruption

When bruxism occurs on a regular basis, it can lead to long-term chronic oral health complications. If you believe you are experiencing any symptoms, be sure to consult with one of our trusted doctors.


If you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth, one or more of these factors could amplify your symptoms:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Caffeine intake
  • Medications and other substances (alcohol or cigarettes)
  • Abnormal bite or missing teeth
  • Other sleep disorders

Taking action against bruxism

For many individuals, bruxism is an unconscious habit that could lead to long-term chronic muscle pain, sleep disturbances and destruction of teeth. They can become worn, loose or painful. In more severe cases, bruxism can even cause bone loss. Here are some ways to take action against grinding and clenching teeth:

  • Avoid chewing gum
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco use
  • Eat soft foods and use pain relievers as needed
  • Reduce every-day stress
  • Try massage therapy
  • Practice relaxation techniques
  • Exercise
  • Wear a custom mouth appliance or an occlusal guard fabricated by your dentist
  • Visit the dentist regularly

What is an occlusal guard?

Your dentist may recommend you wear an occlusal guard to prevent further damage to your teeth. It is a custom device your dentist makes to prevent your teeth from making solid contact at night. For the best fit, be sure the occlusal guard is fabricated by your dentist. 

Schedule a consultation

If you believe you suffer from bruxism or know you are grinding and clenching your teeth, be sure to consult one of our trusted doctors. Govani Dental will work with you to ensure the best possible solution.

By visiting the dentist regularly for comprehensive care, we are able to monitor any changes to your overall oral health. If you have questions regarding bruxism or would like to schedule an appointment, call us at 920-231-1955.