January 9, 2023

Did you know that bruxism is prevalent among adolescents in the United States? Moreover, this condition affects around 15% of young Americans, 8% of middle-aged adults, and 3% of older adults. Since bruxism takes a toll on teeth, people dealing with this problem should learn about it and see an expert in orthodontic dentistry in Hialeah.  

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Frequently Asked Questions About Bruxism – Answered!

What Exactly Is It?

Bruxism is a condition in which a person grinds, gnashes, or clenches their teeth. While someone who has awake bruxism may unconsciously clench their teeth throughout the day, those who have sleep bruxism clench or grind their teeth during sleep.  

Since sleep bruxism is a sleep-related movement disorder, individuals who clench or grind their teeth while sleeping are likely to have other sleep disorders, including pauses in breathing or sleep apnea and snoring. Although mild bruxism may not require treatment, severe bruxism requires a specialist’s immediate attention. Otherwise, this condition will lead to chronic headaches, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMDs), damaged teeth, and other issues.  

What Are Its Signs and Symptoms?

A person may have sleep bruxism without realizing it. Since this condition is common, many mistakenly believe it’s harmless. For this reason, it’s best to identify its signs and symptoms and seek regular dental care to avoid complications.  

You may have bruxism if you have chipped, cracked, abraded, or overly sensitive teeth. However, other symptoms include the following:

  • Headaches  
  • Aches and pains in the face and jaw region
  • Tense facial and jaw muscles
  • Damage to the inside of the cheeks
  • Tongue indentations
  • A clicking or popping temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • Dislocated jaw
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Eroded enamel
  • Dentin exposure
  • Flat and smooth areas on the teeth’s biting surfaces  

How Is It Diagnosed?

Dentists can accurately diagnose bruxism by detecting enamel erosion patterns over the cusps or the pointed parts of the back teeth. The wear patterns will show how the patient’s jaw moves, from side to side, backward, and forward. Furthermore, dentists use these wear and tear patterns to determine the extent of their patients’ teeth-grinding issues.  

What Are Its Common Causes?


Did you know that stress is one of the most common reasons people grind their teeth? Although it’s normal for people to experience stress to some degree, how they respond to it plays a significant role in their overall well-being. Stress is any change that triggers physical, emotional, or psychological strain.  

Moreover, stress is the body’s natural response to anything that demands action or attention. Stressful events such as family bereavement, relocation, overwork, divorce, and examinations can also lead to bruxism.

Mental Health Conditions

Since bruxism is often associated with an individual’s mental state, stress is one of its most common causes. For example, unresolved or suppressed emotions that cause undue stress can start and perpetuate bruxism, including its frequency and severity. For this reason, depressed, anxious, and emotionally stressed individuals are more likely to develop bruxism as a response to releasing regular emotional stress.  

Neurological Conditions

Neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, cause movement during sleep. Although bruxism rarely appears in patients with these diseases, it represents a compromising symptom that can strain them and their families considerably.

Misaligned Bites  

An individual can develop bruxism if their bite isn’t aligned. Upper and lower teeth that fail to mesh together perfectly or easily can cause the jaw to spasm, leading to obsessive clenching or grinding. Over time, bruxism can cause abnormal enamel wear that worsens the mismatch.  

Growing Teeth

Research shows that up to 40% of younger children experience bruxism when their baby teeth emerge and when their permanent teeth are coming in. However, this condition resolves on its own without causing lasting damage because the teeth and jawbone grow quickly during childhood.


Certain medications, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics, can produce side effects that include bruxism. Studies suggest a link between this condition and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Some of the most common culprits out of the studied drugs are sertraline (Zoloft) and Fluoxetine (Prozac).

Lifestyle Habits

People who regularly smoke tobacco, use recreational drugs, or drink alcohol and caffeine, are more likely to have bruxism than those who don’t. Since tobacco stimulates and affects the body’s dopaminergic system, bruxism in tobacco users is two times more prevalent than in non-users.  

Furthermore, recreational drugs, such as methamphetamine (meth), cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy, can increase bruxism. Since these drugs stimulate the central nervous system, they initiate motor disorders and cause bruxism. Regular recreational drug use promotes bruxism and leads to severe attrition within a short period.

Excessive alcohol use doubles a person’s chance of developing bruxism. Since this lifestyle habit also breaks up sleeping patterns, it causes poor sleep quality. Drinking a glass of wine before bed can trigger the muscles to hyperactivate and the teeth to grind.

Likewise, regular caffeine intake increases an individual’s risk of bruxing. Drinking caffeinated beverages, such as energy drinks, soda, or six or more cups of tea and coffee, promotes muscle activity and frequent waking periods at night.  

woman with bruxism needs Orthodontic Dentistry in Hialeah

Can the Dentist Repair Tooth Damage From Bruxism?

Dentists often use veneers, composite fillings, or dental crowns to fix any damaged tooth area, whether on the surface of the back teeth or the tip of the front teeth.

Do I Need a Night Guard for Bruxism?

A night guard refers to a hard or soft, custom-fitted, retainer-like plastic device that covers all or part of the teeth. Dentists instruct patients with bruxism to wear a night guard before bed to prevent them from clenching or grinding their teeth during sleep. The dentist makes an impression of the patient’s top and bottom teeth to create a plaster cast before sending it to a dental laboratory.  

Since a night guard ensures that teeth are kept apart at night, the device trains the muscles to reset and relax. The minimal muscle activity at night prevents tooth wear and reduces bruxism’s side effects, including headaches, facial pain, and jaw joint pain.

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Considering Orthodontic Dentistry in Hialeah?  

You’ll want to visit a dentist if your partner says you’re grinding your teeth in your sleep or if you’re worried about your child grinding their teeth. However, if your bruxism symptoms include tooth damage, sensitive teeth, or pain in your jaw, face, or ear, you’ll need to call your dentist immediately.  

At Best Dentistry Miami, we’re dedicated to keeping up with the latest trends to keep our patients as informed as possible. We use state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge technology to ensure accuracy and precision during every treatment. Contact us today to make an appointment.  

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