Jaw clenching and teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is when you have an involuntary habit of clenching, grinding or gnashing of the teeth. Oftentimes this problem happens without the person knowing it and can affect adults and children. Unfortunately, the level of pain can vary throughout someone’s life and the level of teeth grinding and jaw clenching can often change. The pain that people can experience is often severe facial pain, while others may not experience significant discomfort, at first at all.

Most times, teeth grinding is a habit that happens while a person is sleeping, especially since there is significantly more pressure put on the teeth while asleep. Jaw clenching often occurs when someone is in a stressful situation, examples include; an important meeting, computer work, driving, etc.


Some of the risks of Bruxism include cracked or broken teeth, broken crowns and fillings, increased risk of gum problems, and greater stress on your jaw joints and muscles. To avoid these severe risks caused by teeth grinding and jaw clenching, it is crucial to watch for the early signs and symptoms to ideally avoid the occurrence of severe risk.

Signs and Symptoms

Although signs and symptoms of teeth grinding and jaw clenching can be very subtle at the beginning, it is important that you do not let them get worse as it can lead to far more permanent damage. Symptoms of teeth grinding will often appear once you have awakened, while jaw clenching symptoms appear later in the day if you do it often throughout the day. Some common symptoms of bruxism are:

  • Aching teeth or jaws, especially when you first wake up or eat breakfast
  • Facial pain or stiffness in the temples, especially after waking up
  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Tooth sensitivity, fractured teeth, or the feeling of loose teeth
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks

At Mill Ridge Family Dental Care in Milton, we encourage you to come to us with any and all concerns to avoid leaving dental issues untreated. Treating bruxism early will significantly improve your chances of avoiding more serious tooth problems and permanent issues.

Some things your Milton family dentist may suggest if you grind your teeth is a mouthguard to wear while sleeping. Wearing a mouthguard will decrease the pressure between the upper and lower jaw and allow for less pain to be created throughout your facial muscles, teeth and head. Ensure that you consult your dentist if you believe that you may have any of the symptoms of bruxism.