Teeth Clenching: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Teeth clenching, also known as bruxism, is a condition in which you gnash or grind your teeth. It occurs mainly at night during sleep (sleep bruxism). If you have sleep bruxism, you may disturb the sleep of your partner. Also, it can wake you up, only to realize that the sound you are hearing is your teeth clenching. In this article, we will discuss teeth clenching in detail.

What Are The Symptoms of Teeth Clenching?

Most people are unaware that they clench their teeth until someone tells them. Because it occurs mainly during sleep. So, here are signs and symptoms that you may have to look for if you suspect you clench.

  • Facial muscles tension and headaches.
  • Earache.
  • Cracked teeth (chipped teeth).
  • Tooth wear and sensitivity.
  • Sleep disruption.
  • Temporomandibular joint pain.
  • Jaw pain.

Why Do People Clench Their Teeth?

Most doctors relate teeth clenching to stress and anxiety. However, the latest researches have shown that sleep bruxism may occur due to interrupted sleep breathing, also known as sleep apnea. Other causes include:

  • Malocclusion and TMJ disorders.
  • Overconsumption of alcohol or caffeine-containing beverages.
  • Some medications such as psychiatric and antidepressant medications.
  • Some medical conditions such as night terrors and epilepsy.

What Are Complications of Teeth Clenching?

Clenching your teeth frequently may lead to some complications if left untreated, including:

  • Tooth wear and fracture.
  • Teeth sensitivity.
  • Severe tooth pain that can trigger eating disorders.
  • Gum recession.
  • Ear pain and headaches.
  • Jaw pain.
  • TMJ disorders.

How Is Teeth Clenching Treated?

First, visit your dentist to identify the underlying cause. The treatment aims to reduce clenching, reduce pain, prevent complications. The treatment includes:

  • Night guard: to protect your teeth and prevent clenching.
  • Stress management techniques: to reduce the stress level.
  • Physical therapy: to relax jaw muscles and relieve discomfort.
  • Medications: such as muscle relaxants and stress medications.
  • Dental treatment: you should visit your dentist to treat any dental problem that may cause clenching.
  • Visit your physician: if clenching occurs as a side effect of some medications or medical conditions.