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What are the Signs and Symptoms of Teeth Grinding?

Bruxism A common issue that affects up to 80% of the population, the grinding of teeth and clenching of the jaw can cause tooth wear, breakages, pain, limited movement of the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint disorder), migraines and headaches. Most common in adults over 25 years old, the cause is not fully understood, though symptoms often worsen during stressful periods. One of the most debilitating effects of bruxism is headaches, migraines and chronic tension headaches. These symptoms often go untreated because who would think that it is caused by tooth grinding or clenching? Effects of bruxism Bruxism sufferers are affected in many ways and it can lead to more serious issues, often requiring a dentist's intervention. Many symptoms, however, are unlikely to be dental related; often bruxism is left untreated for many years. It is common for patients to turn to their GP and have a magnitude of investigations for other medical conditions, including MRI and brain scans.

Short-term effects of bruxism

  • Headaches and migraines

  • Facial myalgia (aching jaw & facial muscles - often diagnosed as Atypical Facial Pain)

  • Earache, tinnitus and sinus pains

  • Stiff neck and shoulders

  • Limited mouth opening

  • Poor sleep quality 

  • Sleep disturbance of bed partner due to noise

  • Tooth mobility and tooth wear

  • Fractured tooth cusps and broken fillings 

  • Receding and inflamed gums

  • Tongue scalloping

Long-term effects of bruxism

  • Prolonged untreated migraines

  • Excessive facial muscle tone

  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (sometimes called TMJD or just TMJ) 

  • Clicking or popping jaw joint

  • Tooth wear and tooth loss

During sleep, there is no feedback mechanism to tell your brain that your teeth are hurting because of too much pressure, hence we can put up to 40 times the amount of pressure on our teeth whilst we sleep - it is no surprise to see a lot of damage.

If you recognise any of the above signs and symptoms, or simply would like to have a discussion about teeth grinding, get in touch to book yourself an appointment today! We would love to help.


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