What is Bruxism? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment Options and More

28 June 2024

How to stop bruxism: Lady holding her jaw while grinding her teeth

Do you find yourself grinding your teeth during the day? Or if you wake up with tension in your jaw, or a headache that just won’t go away, chances are you might be clenching your teeth in your sleep. These are some common signs that you may have a medical condition called bruxism. 

While mild forms of bruxism may not need to be treated, some severe cases can lead to health issues like jaw disorders, headaches and damaged teeth. So it’s best to seek a trusted expert’s advice if you find yourself experiencing such issues. 

Here, we’ll explain bruxism, its causes and how invisible braces can correct your teeth alignment to prevent teeth grinding. 

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be taken as medical advice. Please consult with your treating dentist for medical advice specific to your condition. Zenyum does not provide medical advice and our systems are doctor-directed treatments.

What causes bruxism?

There’s many reasons why you might be grinding your teeth, either consciously or unconsciously. Most of the time, it’s caused by stress, anxiety, genetic factors or other lifestyle or medical factors.

Risk factors of bruxism

Also, the chances of you developing bruxism are higher if you have the following conditions: 

  • Stress and anxiety: It’s important to keep stress at bay! Not doing so can cause you to clench your teeth more.  
  • Family history: If your family members have bruxism, this increases your chances of having the condition. 
  • Lifestyle habits: Smoking, drinking alcohol and consuming too much caffeine can make it more likely that you’ll grind your teeth, compared to someone who has healthier lifestyle habits.

Symptoms of bruxism

Bruxism symptoms: woman holding her jaw in pain

Do you know if you have bruxism? It’s common for us to clench our teeth from time to time. But more frequent teeth grinding can cause long term damage to your teeth and jaw. It can also put pressure on your teeth, weaken the enamel and increase the chances of your teeth chipping or cracking.

More severe cases of bruxism can even change your face shape as a result of too much pressure being put on certain cheek muscles. 

Look out for these common signs to see whether you have bruxism: 

  • Damage to your teeth, restorations, crowns or jaw causing sensitive teeth
  • Tired or tight jaw muscles causing jaw or face pain: 
  • Dull, tension type headaches 

If you suspect that you may be grinding your teeth, consult a trusted expert.

Bruxism treatment methods

Fortunately, there are ways to treat this medical condition. Some solutions your dentist may prescribe include braces, a bite splint or a night guard.

Braces for bruxism

If your teeth or jaw is misaligned, straightening your teeth may be a good way to reduce the effects of bruxism.

Those with abnormal bites, missing or crooked teeth may be more prone to clenching their teeth than those who have a well aligned smile. Braces gradually shift your teeth into their ideal positions, to create a more balanced and functional bite.

Invisible braces for bruxism

Zenyum invisible braces for bruxism

During your Zenyum Invisible Braces journey, you may wear down and crack your aligners faster if you clench or grind your teeth. But rest assured, a set of aligners is changed every 10 days. And your aligners double up as a guard against teeth grinding. 

If you grind your teeth, you may realise that your retainers wear down faster than normal. Don’t worry, you can always get new ones, and have a few sets on standby in case you lose them!

Bite splint or night guard

Mouth guard for bruxism

For more long term care, your dentist can prescribe a custom-made bite splint or night guard. What it does is reduce bite pressure so that your teeth don’t suffer any further damage from excessive clenching or grinding.

How to prevent bruxism

That being said, can bruxism actually be prevented? You can’t always prevent yourself from grinding your teeth at night or clenching, but one way is to manage your daily stressors by doing activities that calm your mind. Practising mindfulness, journaling and exercising are great habits to keep stress at bay.

Another way is to avoid smoking and drinking too much alcohol. Above all, it’s important to visit your dentist for regular checkups, so your dentist can detect any issues early and advise you on how to manage them before they get worse.

FAQs

What are the different types of bruxism?

There’s two main types of bruxism – sleep bruxism and awake bruxism. Basically, it can happen to us either when we’re asleep or when we’re awake. Sleep bruxism is more common, and happens unconsciously while you’re asleep. This means that you grind or clench your teeth for long periods at night, often without you even knowing you’re doing it.

You’ll know when you wake up with pain in your jaw, or a headache that just won’t go away. Or you may grind your teeth during the day because of a stressful situation, or because you’re anxious.

Sometimes teeth grinding can be a difficult habit to kick, especially if it happens during sleep. More severe bruxism can wear down your tooth enamel, and increase teeth sensitivity.

If you can’t stop grinding your teeth, mouth guards prescribed by a trusted expert can help, which you’ll need to wear regularly or as advised by your dentist.

Going for regular dental check-ups should do the trick to help you prevent bruxism from affecting your teeth. Your dentist is a trusted expert who can prescribe a more suitable solution for you. 

A dentist does a physical examination of your symptoms, to see if you have bruxism. In some cases, you may need to complete a sleep study, which takes place overnight in a sleep centre for a more accurate diagnosis of your case.

Can't stop grinding your teeth?

Zenyum Invisible Braces can help straighten your teeth, improve your bite and prevent bruxism!

How to treat bruxism: Girl holding Zenyum aligners

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This device or software is not intended to be used for any medical purpose (such as the detection, diagnosis, monitoring, management or treatment of any medical condition or disease). Any health-related information provided by this device or software should not be treated as medical advice. Please consult a physician for any medical advice required.

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