Grinding Chronicles: Exploring Bruxism 

Constant, gnawing headaches can be distressing, especially when you wake up in the morning, and that is the first thing you encounter. Persistent headaches and jaw pain can have an underlying cause. You may be suffering from bruxism! 

The dentist in Buffalo Grove, IL, and their team will help diagnose and treat bruxism to improve your quality of life.

What is bruxism?

Bruxism is a medical condition that is characterized by abnormal grinding and clenching of your teeth, especially while you are asleep (sleep bruxism). However, you may clench or grind your teeth even during the daytime (awake bruxism).

What causes bruxism?

Bruxism has multiple causes to it that are different in adults and children. These include:

Causes in adults 

  1. Sleep disorders
  2. Stress and anxiety
  3. Unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking and alcoholism
  4. Consumption of recreational drugs and excess caffeine 
  5. Certain medications like anti-anxiety drugs 

Causes in children 

  1. Malaligned teeth
  2. Pain such as earache
  3. Stress 
  4. Medical conditions like hyperactivity or cerebral palsy

What are the symptoms associated with bruxism?

Bruxism can lead to a cascade of symptoms and may vary in severity.

  • Headache, jaw joint, or ear pain
  • Abraded teeth, especially the molars
    • More wear and tear on the teeth
  • Aching teeth after waking up
  • Jaw stiffness or pain while chewing 
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Poor concentration 
  • Tiredness and fatigue 
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Poor memory 
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Receded gums
  • Cracked or chipped tooth enamel
  • Tooth indentations on the tongue
  • Cheek bite
  • Sore jaw muscles 
  • Jaw locking 
  • Loose teeth

How is bruxism treated?

The possible treatment options include the following:

  • Behavior changes 
      • Relaxation exercises like yoga and meditation
      • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to reduce stress
      • Physical therapy
  • Mouthguards 
      • These are acrylic appliances that help to minimize the abrasive action of tooth surfaces during sleep.
      • They also help stabilize the occlusion and prevent damage to the teeth and TMJ.
  • Biofeedback 
      • It involves an electric instrument that measures the amount of muscle activity of the mouth and jaw. When there is too much muscle activity, it signals you to make appropriate behavior changes.
      • This is especially helpful for daytime bruxism.
  • Medicine 
    • Medicines like Botox injections help to regulate the neurotransmitters and aid in muscle relaxation.


Bruxism can be common due to increased stress levels, unhealthy lifestyle habits, and busy work schedules. However, early detection is the key to prompt treatment that can help improve your quality of sleep and life. This may help to enhance your overall health and well-being.

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