Clenching And Grinding: The Truth About Bruxism


Do you often experience jaw pain or headache when you wake up in the morning? Are your teeth over-sensitive to hot and cold temperatures? It is likely that you are suffering from a condition known as bruxism. It is an involuntary act of grinding your teeth, especially during your sleep. 

San Juan Capistrano natural dentistry aims to identify the symptoms associated with bruxism to offer an appropriate treatment plan, thus providing relief. 

What is bruxism?

Bruxism refers to a dental problem characterized by abnormal teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Occasionally, this may not cause any harm. However, persistent grinding can hurt your teeth, jaw muscles, and TMJ (temporomandibular joint)

Types of bruxism:

  • Awake bruxism: You clench your jaw and grind your teeth during the day, which is often associated with emotional stress. 
  • Sleep bruxism: You grind your teeth while asleep in this form, and is usually considered to be more harmful, causing multiple painful symptoms.  

What are the characteristic features associated with bruxism?

Bruxism can present with the following signs and symptoms:

  • Disturbed sleep
  • Headaches or facial pain, especially in the morning
  • Persistent pain in your teeth
  • Loose or mobile teeth
  • Receding gums with deep gingival pockets
  • Tender and sore gums 
  • Tenderness and soreness of the jaw muscles
  • Excess wearing of teeth on the occlusal surfaces 
  • Teeth are more prone to fractures
  • TMJ joint inflammation with clicking or popping sound
  • Jaw locking (inability to close or open the mouth due to restricted TMJ mobility)

How can bruxism be treated? 

There is a cascade of treatment options available to treat bruxism. These include:


  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation.
  • Muscle relaxing drugs to treat muscle soreness by relaxing the muscles around your TMJ. 

Mouth guards 

  • Help distribute the forces evenly across the jaw and protect teeth from damage. 
  • These devices consist of flexible rubber or plastic and act as a physical barrier between the teeth. 

NTI-tss device

  • Protects your teeth by limiting the contraction of the temporalis muscle and prevents the grinding of the rear molars. 


  • Botulinum toxin, popularly known as Botox injections, is an excellent muscle relaxant.
  • It is injected into the muscles responsible for bruxism to paralyze them.

Final note 

Bruxism or teeth grinding happens when you clench or grind your teeth involuntarily, especially while asleep. Without treatment, it can lead to problems with your teeth, jaw muscles, and jaw joints. If you wake up with headaches or have soreness, seek dental care to improve your quality of sleep and oral health. 

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