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What are the Different Teeth Grinding Symptoms?

B. Miller
B. Miller

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a common problem that is most often seen in young people, though it can appear in people of all ages, often due to stress. The teeth grinding symptoms are fairly straightforward, and typically include tooth sensitivity, pain in the jaw, bleeding gums, and a persistent, dull headache. Some people will experience broken or loose teeth as teeth grinding symptoms, while others may only be noticed by a dentist, such as more minor tooth damage or the wearing down of the enamel on the teeth.

Parents or sleeping partners may be the first to notice teeth grinding symptoms. Though some people simply clench their teeth together while they are sleeping, which can still cause problems; other people will actually grind the teeth together and move them back and forth in a chewing motion, which can make a distinct crunching noise. If a parent notices this, it should be addressed with a dentist. Mouthguards are typically used in children to prevent the teeth grinding, and many kids will grow out of it; adults may also choose to use mouthguards, though some find that stress reduction and other techniques are more helpful, such as cutting back on alcohol, which has been shown to increase teeth grinding.

Dental X-ray.
Dental X-ray.

People will often notice teeth grinding symptoms upon waking in the morning. Jaw tension and pain are some of the most common, though some will also notice that their teeth are becoming more sensitive and painful, especially to hot or cold liquids. This constant tension in the muscles of the face, neck, and jaw will often lead to pain and dull, constant headaches. Pain or bleeding in the gums is somewhat less common, but it can also occur. If one notices these symptoms it is important to make lifestyle changes to stop grinding the teeth; try practicing relaxation techniques, for example, or getting some exercise during the day to relieve stress.

Jaw pain is a common symptom of bruxism.
Jaw pain is a common symptom of bruxism.

Other teeth grinding symptoms will typically appear after a period of time in which the teeth grinding has not been corrected. This can be loose teeth, cracks in the teeth or damage to existing fillings, or wear in the enamel that is progressing more rapidly than normal. A dentist will generally notice these symptoms if the patient has not yet. This can require extensive dental work if the teeth grinding does not stop, which can be a very painful and expensive process.

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Discussion Comments


@raynbow- In a pinch, I think that you should give a retail mouth guard a try. They come in different sizes, and definitely help control a person from grinding his or her teeth while sleeping.

If you try an inexpensive mouth guard and find that it doesn't fit properly or that it doesn't help to correct your problem, you may have to have one made by your dentist. Since he or she will be able to do impressions of your teeth to make your custom mouth guard, you will get a precise fit. It will also be made of high-quality materials, so it will last much longer than a cheap mouth guard.

If you do find that you need a custom-made mouth guard but are on a tight budget, you should talk to your dentist about your options. Some dental insurance plans will cover the cost of mouth guards. If yours doesn't or you don't have dental insurance, your dentist may be willing to set you up on a payment plan. This way you will be able to pay for your mouth guard over time and stop your teeth grinding. This will actually save you money over time, because teeth grinding can cause dental problems that are expensive to fix.


I was wondering if the type of mouth guards that you can by over the counter will help to control nighttime teeth grinding as well as those made by a dentist. I need one, but I don't have the money to pay for a mouth guard that is custom made.

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    • Dental X-ray.
      Dental X-ray.
    • Jaw pain is a common symptom of bruxism.
      By: detailblick
      Jaw pain is a common symptom of bruxism.
    • Bleeding gums can be a symptom of teeth grinding.
      By: Zsolt Bota Finna
      Bleeding gums can be a symptom of teeth grinding.
    • Teeth grinding may cause a persistent, dull headache.
      By: vgstudio
      Teeth grinding may cause a persistent, dull headache.