Understanding Teeth Grinding: Causes, Effects, and Treatment Options

Many of our patients suffer from a common yet often overlooked issue: teeth grinding, clinically known as bruxism. In this post, we aim to shed light on this condition to discuss its causes and effects on oral health, and available treatments.

Understanding Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is a condition characterized by the involuntary clenching, gnashing, or grinding of teeth. While occasional teeth grinding might not pose any harm, chronic bruxism can lead to various dental problems and discomfort.

Causes of Teeth Grinding

Teeth Grinding can stem from multiple factors, including stress and anxiety, misaligned teeth, sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, and even lifestyle habits like excessive caffeine intake or alcohol consumption. Identifying the underlying cause is crucial for effectively managing and treating it.

Effects on Oral Health

The effects of untreated bruxism can be severe. Grinding teeth can put immense pressure on the jaw and can lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, resulting in jaw pain, headaches, and difficulty chewing. Moreover, the constant friction between teeth can wear down teeth enamel, leading to tooth sensitivity, chips, fractures, or even tooth loss in severe cases.

Teeth grinding can also contribute to the development of gum recession and worsen existing conditions like gingivitis. If you believe you suffer from sleep apnea, TMJ, or jaw pain contact our TMJ and sleep therapy center at 781-650-8001 or visit our website to learn more.


Diagnosing teeth grinding can typically involve a thorough examination of the patient’s dental history, symptoms, and a physical examination of the teeth and jaw. In some cases, additional tests such as dental X-rays or a sleep study may be necessary to assess the extent of the condition and any associated sleep disorders.

Treatment Options

Fortunately, various treatment options are available to help with the symptoms of teeth grinding and prevent further damage to your oral health:

Night Guards: Custom-made night guards are often recommended to patients who grind their teeth. These oral appliances act as a protective barrier, preventing teeth from grinding against each other during sleep. Custom-fit appliances designed by a dentist offer a comfortable and effective solution to griding, while positioning the jaw optimally to reduce pain.

Stress Management: Since stress and anxiety are common triggers of teeth grinding, stress management skills such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or therapy may help with symptoms. Engaging in relaxing activities before bedtime can also promote better sleep quality and reduce teeth grinding.

Dental Corrections: In cases where misaligned teeth contribute to bruxism, orthodontic treatment or dental restorations like crowns or veneers may be recommended to realign the bite and alleviate pressure on the jaw.

Teeth grinding is a common dental condition with potentially serious consequences if left untreated. As dentists, we encourage individuals experiencing symptoms of bruxism to seek professional evaluation and explore appropriate treatment options tailored to their needs. By addressing the underlying causes and implementing preventive measures, we can mitigate the detrimental effects of bruxism and promote optimal oral health and overall well-being.

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