Treatment of bruxism – how to eliminate teeth grinding?

25 October 2023
A woman suffering from bruxism. En Source: VistaCreate

Strong clenching of the jaw and grinding of teeth is not only a symptom of strong agitation, but also bruxism. This affliction can lead to damage to the enamel and, in extreme cases, even to crumbling teeth. What causes the onset of bruxism? How to treat this ailment?

Bruxism – what is it?

The most typical symptom of bruxism is jaw clenching and teeth grinding. This affliction is a direct result of increased tension and growth of the jaw muscles. Bruxism is sometimes categorized as a parafunction, that is, activities that are performed habitually and unnecessarily. An example of another parafunction is lip biting.

Although parafunctions may seem completely harmless, they should not be underestimated. Bruxism can lead to both damage to the teeth, as well as excessive growth of the masseter muscles, which can adversely affect the shape of the face.

Bruxism – main and associated symptoms

The main symptoms of bruxism include the aforementioned teeth clenching and teeth grinding. These symptoms are most often exacerbated during periods of rest, hence the frequent grinding of teeth at night. What are the other symptoms of this affliction?

  • Headaches – can be caused by excessive teeth clenching. It is estimated that a bruxism sufferer can clench his teeth up to ten times more forcefully than when chewing on food.
  • Damage to the teeth – primarily scratches and cracks in the enamel, but some people even experience tooth crumbling and, in extreme cases, tooth loss.
  • Change in facial features – under the influence of the growth of masseter muscles, the jaw may become more square and strongly outlined.
  • Tinnitus – and other types of hearing disorders.

As you can see, the symptoms of bruxism can be bothersome. If you notice any of them in yourself and suspect that you are experiencing teeth grinding in your sleep, make an appointment for a dental consultation. Keep in mind that teeth grinding can be particularly dangerous in children – especially those who already have permanent teeth. Clenching and gnashing them can lead to permanent damage, as well as serious malocclusion.

What are the causes of bruxism?

Various factors can contribute to the occurrence of bruxism. Among the most important causes of this ailment are:

  • Stress – especially chronic, continuous or recurrent stress. Such emotions can accompany work, study, but also other situations of daily life. Feelings of overwhelm and excessive mental tension can cause just involuntary clenching of the jaw and grinding of teeth.
  • Dental problems – primarily malocclusion, but also cavities, ill-fitting dentures, fillings or braces are other factors that can cause clenching and grinding of teeth.
  • Taking certain medications – primarily psychotropic drugs, but also used to treat Parkinson’s disease.

The onset of bruxism symptoms can also be influenced by such inconspicuous activities as habitual nail biting or frequent gum chewing. Teeth grinding can accompany symptoms of gastric reflux, or even be a consequence of hormonal disorders. There can be many causes, so it is crucial to visit a specialist who can confirm or rule out bruxism, help detect the cause of the condition and suggest the most favorable treatment methods.

Treatment of bruxism

There are various ways to get rid of the symptoms of bruxism. However, the key issue is to determine the causes of this ailment and eliminate them if possible. Otherwise, the problem may recur.

Bruxism – treatment with home remedies

Although home methods of treating bruxism have limited effectiveness, they can be used to complement professional measures, as well as in a preventive capacity. What are these methods?

  • Relaxation techniques – try to find ways to eliminate or neutralize stress and tension. Physical activity works well for some people, but also listening to music, reading a book or a soothing massage. If teeth grinding occurs mainly at night, it might be a good idea to look at your evening habits. For good sleep hygiene, it’s a good idea to spend the last hours before bedtime away from electronic devices. Browsing the news, catching up on work or playing games is not the best way to calm down just before going to bed.
  • Exercises for facial muscles – they not only promote better elasticity of the skin, but also help to relax any tension that may arise during the day due to various factors. What exercises are worth doing? An excellent one to start with is tongue flicking, that is, making a sound similar to that made by a horse’s hooves. Another exercise can be pronouncing individual vowels loudly and very accurately.

Cold compresses and soothing herbal infusions can also help relieve bruxism symptoms with home remedies.

Professional treatment of bruxism – recommended treatments:

  • Correction of malocclusion – that is, eliminating one of the potential causes of bruxism. Sometimes the insertion of dentures, improvement of fillings or temporary wearing of braces is enough to get rid of the symptoms of bruxism.
  • Physiotherapy treatments – if jaw clenching and teeth grinding is due to excessive tension in the facial muscles, massages and physiotherapy treatments can help. This is an excellent emergency aid – it has an instant effect.
  • Botox – a proven method for bruxism. You may associate Botox more with wrinkle treatments, but botulinum toxin has many more uses. If injected into the area of the masseter muscles, it causes them to relax. The reduced muscle tension minimizes the risk of bruxism symptoms. This treatment provides results for a period of several months.

As you can see, there is no shortage of ways to eliminate the symptoms of bruxism and even permanently remove the causes of this ailment. If this topic is not foreign to you and you notice teeth grinding in yourself, do not delay in visiting a specialist.

Karol Popko

Karol Popko is an experienced author whose pen has been shining in the lifestyle world for many years. With his copywriting practice and insight into trends, he not only shares practical tips, but also opens up a deeper understanding of these topics to his readers. According to Karol, beauty can be found everywhere, and life is worth celebrating with passion and style.


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