Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

When was the last time you looked at your teeth? Take a good look. Do you notice your teeth look flat? Can you see deeper into some of them than others? If you don’t notice anything different about your teeth, do you frequently suffer from headaches or earaches?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have a condition called bruxism, or teeth grinding. Bruxism can occur consciously or unconsciously, while you’re awake or while you’re sleeping.

How Do I Know if I Grind My Teeth at Night?

One particularly effective way to know if you grind your teeth at night is if someone tells you. Sometimes, the noise can be loud enough for your partner to hear. You may also wake up abruptly mid-grind. Grinding also has an effect on your teeth, and your dentist can often guess whether or not you grind by how worn your teeth are.

If you think you might have bruxism, make an appointment with us so you can be properly diagnosed and begin receiving bruxism treatment.

Symptoms of bruxism include:

  • TMJ/TMD issues, including nerve pain.
  • Frequent headaches.
  • Loose, flattened and/or fractured teeth.
  • Worn tooth enamel.
  • Tooth pain and/or sensitivity.
  • Tooth loss.
  • Disrupted sleep.

Do I Need to Get Treatment for Bruxism?

Bruxism is sometimes a sign of a larger sleep breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea. Teeth grinding will often cause TMJ/TMD issues as well. These can both be serious problems that bring more risk to your overall health, which is why we always recommend receiving treatment for bruxism.

Sleep apnea is a condition where a person’s sleep is accompanied by frequent pauses in breathing throughout the night. One would assume that we can easily get enough oxygen while sleeping, but reality is, people with sleep apnea simply don’t.

Nighttime clenching and grinding is an unconscious activity of the brain sometimes done to stimulate the throat muscle in an effort to make breathing easier. This repeated action all night long over time wears down the tooth and jaw joints, causing:

  • Headaches.
  • Musculoskeletal pain.
  • TMJ dysfunctions.
  • Facial neuralgias.

To avoid this, we can provide you with a night guard for grinding teeth or a sleep appliance.

Benefits of TMD/TMJ Treatment

To prevent more serious problems, it is important to get your sleep apnea treated. Not only will sleep apnea treatment help you avoid cardiovascular disease, memory problems, headaches, and snoring, but you will also sleep better.

Maybe your bruxism hasn’t become painful yet, but we recommend you still seek out bruxism treatment. If left untreated, you could experience severe pain in your teeth and jaw, headaches, and eventually, you could wear away your teeth. Besides, bruxism is sometimes a symptom of the more serious sleep apnea.

Getting treatment today will prevent pain now and in the future, and will help you keep your teeth and jaws healthy.

If you do experience pain from teeth grinding, getting bruxism treatment with TMJ and Sleep Therapy Centre of Montana can put a stop to it. As the only clinic that specializes in TMD in the entire state, you can depend on us for all your bruxism needs.

Custom Teeth Grinding Sleep Appliance

For bruxism treatment, our team will provide you with a teeth grinding mouthguard. Each mouthguard is custom made to fit the patient’s teeth and unique teeth grinding complications.

Your teeth grinding mouthguard will be made to fit comfortably in your mouth, and will closely hug your teeth. They prevent grinding so your jaw can relax and you can get a better night’s sleep. Even after just one night of use, a teeth grinding mouthguard can have you experiencing less pain and drowsiness throughout the day.


What Are Common Symptoms of Bruxism?

While there are many symptoms, the most common is frequent headaches. You may also experience:

  • General aches in your face, neck, shoulders.
  • Nerve pain.
  • Ear aches.
  • Daytime drowsiness.

Long-term symptoms also include cracked or worn teeth. If you suffer from these, we can give you a night guard for grinding teeth to help prevent more damage.

How Do We Diagnose Bruxism?

While your friends and family may tell you they can hear the grinding sound coming from your mouth all day or night long, this is not a diagnosis. A dentist can formally evaluate your teeth and determine if there is any tooth wear or receding gum lines, which can indicate bruxism.

If you talk to your personal care physician about a headache, they may also suggest bruxism is the cause and direct you towards bruxism treatment.

What Causes Bruxism?

One common cause of bruxism is sleep apnea. When there is a lack of oxygen, as in sleep apnea, the brain tells the jaw it needs to move in order to stimulate the throat muscles and prompt the body to inhale.

Bruxism can be caused by a mood disorder such as anxiety, or simply by missing or mis-aligned teeth. Caffeine or sugary foods can also increase your risk of bruxism.

Is There a Cure for Bruxism?

Dr. VanDyke at Sleep Therapy Centre of Montana has dedicated her life to the study of Dental Sleep Medicine. She can help you manage diagnosed sleep-related breathing disorders using an oral appliance for adults, or orthopedic orthodontics for developing children’s airways. We’ve helped all kinds of patients conquer their bruxism.

How Serious Is Bruxism?

Often, bruxism itself is not serious. However, it is often a symptom of more serious sleep problems like sleep apnea. Mild cases of bruxism do not require treatment. However, if your condition is more serious, untreated bruxism can have painful side-effects such as:

  • Tooth damage.
  • Jaw pain or damage.
  • Headaches.
  • Nerve pain.
  • Receding gums.
  • Is There a Difference Between a Night Guard and a Sleep Appliance?

    Night guards work if the root problem is bruxism. However, if the more serious ailment of sleep apnea is behind the teeth grinding, the night guard for grinding teeth won’t be very helpful. These night guards are designed only to stop the grinding of teeth.

    Because sleep apnea is a sleep-related breathing problem, it requires a different appliance than a simple night guard for grinding teeth. Our sleep appliances both prevent teeth grinding, and open the airway to allow for a peaceful, painless night’s sleep, in order to treat the widest possible range of patients.

    Stop Grinding Your Teeth With Help From a Bruxism Professional

    Dr. Schuyler VanDyke is the lead doctor at TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Montana. She has dedicated her life to studying bruxism and other sleeping disorders and their treatments. This is shown in the many professional organizations she is involved and certified with, including the following:

    We Can Help You Stop Snoring With a Snoring Mouthpiece Today

    Want to stop snoring? Come pay us a visit! TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Montana is the only clinic in Montana that is exclusively dedicated to treating sleep apnea and its symptoms, such as snoring. Our team, led by Dr. Schuyler VanDyke, is excited to help you get a better night’s sleep.

    Call today to get your sleep test and snoring treatment today!

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