What is bruxism?

Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding and clenching. While bruxism often occurs when you sleep, this unconscious act can occur at any time of the day. Many patients do not realize they grind their teeth until someone else observes or hears them doing it. Your dentist may also be the first to discover the condition if your teeth are abnormally worn, chipped, cracked, or sensitive. Other symptoms of bruxism include headaches and jaw pain, especially upon waking in the morning. Untreated bruxism can lead to tooth loss and jawbone damage, as well as TMJ disorder, a condition characterized by improperly-functioning jaw joints.

What causes bruxism?

The habit of chronic clenching and grinding often strikes patients who are stressed or anxious, as well as those with aggressive personality types. Other common causes of bruxism include a misaligned bite, crooked teeth, or missing teeth. If you bite your fingernails, chew on pencils, or engage in any other harmful oral habits, you may be training your jaw muscles to clench, which will increase the likelihood that you will grind your teeth at night.

How is bruxism treated?

In some cases, simple lifestyle changes can help prevent teeth grinding. Avoid chewing on non-food items to give your jaw a break from constant clenching. You may want to avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine, both of which are known to aggravate symptoms. Finding ways to ease stress and anxiety, such as exercise or counseling, may also help. Your dentist can treat your bruxism in a few ways. If your condition is caused by crooked teeth or a bad bite, Dr. Truong can provide orthodontic treatment to align your teeth and bite. For teeth that do not meet properly because they are worn or broken due to bruxism, we can rebuild your tooth structure with crowns and/or veneers. To help reduce the forces of grinding, protect your teeth, and change your clenching behavior, we can fit you with a custom mouth guard to be worn while you sleep.


Viva Dental in Dallas, TX, welcomes patients from North Oak Cliff, Bishop Arts District, Kessler Park, Duncanville, Grand Prairie, and nearby cities. Viva Dental in Richardson, TX, happily welcomes patients from North Dallas, Plano, Garland, and the surrounding communities. To learn more, contact the Viva Dental office nearest you. To schedule an appointment, call Viva Dental Family Dentistry at (214) 337-7800 (Dallas) or (972) 437-6000 (Richardson).