If you grind your teeth, you have bruxism

Grinding teeth – or bruxism – is a habit that can be linked to stress and/or anxiety. Some people grind their teeth without being aware of it as it often happens during sleep.

Grinding the teeth can result in a range of symptoms such as facial pain and headaches. However, as some people are not aware that they are grinding their teeth, it is advisable to first visit the GP and then, once any other potential other causes of the symptoms are ruled out, to visit the dentist. 

There are a range of signs and symptoms associated with tooth grinding, these include:

Poor or disrupted sleep

Pain and/or stiffness in the temporomandibular joint in the jaw and surrounding muscles 

Teeth that are worn-down, with associated increased sensitivity

Cracked or broken teeth, fillings or crowns

Whilst teeth grinding is unlikely to result in severe tooth damage, if your teeth are worn, damaged or sensitive, if your jaw, face or ear is painful or if your partner says you make a grinding sound in your sleep, then it would be worth visiting your dentist to explore possible solutions. If a child is grinding their teeth it is particularly important to seek dental advice. The dentist will be able to detect the signs of grinding and will be able to help you decide if you

need treatment, especially it is likely that the grinding will result in further dental problems such as an infection. If the tooth grinding is the result of stress, then the dentist will also be able to recommend ways that you can reduce this.

There are several treatments available to reduce teeth grinding, these include:

Wearing a mouth guard or mouth splint. This will help to reduce wear and limit jaw pain.

Muscle-relaxation exercises to limit tightness around the jaw.

CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy)

Sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnoea, kicking out or punching during sleep, and hallucinating.