Tele Oral Medicine

Bruxism (Clenching and Grinding)

Bruxism is a repetitive jaw-muscle activity characterised by teeth grinding, clenching, and bracing or thrusting the jaw bone (mandible). It can occur during the day (awake bruxism) or while asleep (sleep bruxism).

Awake Bruxism usually occurs as clenching or bracing/thrusting of the mandible. Sleep bruxism can be both grinding and clenching of the teeth while asleep.
Mild Bruxism may not require therapy. If your Bruxism is significant it can cause jaw pain, headache, damaged teeth, and other issues.

Signs and Symptoms:

Common Bruxism symptoms may include:

  • Jaw stiffness in the morning.
  • Pain within the jaw muscles or jaw joints.
  • Headaches at the temple, especially in the morning.
  • Tooth wear.
  • Tongue indentation.
  • Evidence of cheek ridging.
  • Cracked and fractured teeth.
  • Jaw muscle enlargement.
  • Bed partner or parent alerted by grinding noises during sleep.


Though there is no single cause of Bruxism, common causes include:

  • Anxiety, stress, or anger. Bruxism could be a coping mechanism or a habit formed while you try to focus on personal issues.
  • Sleep bruxism is a result of central nervous system processes.

Risk factors:

Risk factors increasing your risk of Bruxism include:

  • Stress, anxiety, and frustration. 
  • Excessive consumption of caffeine or alcohol.
  • Smoking.
  • Genetics.
  • Sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea, restless legs syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder, REM behaviour disorder and insomnia.
  • Psychiatric conditions such as anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. 
  • Neurological conditions such as epilepsy, cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s disease. 


The first step in treatment is to identify known risk factors and either eliminate or reduce these risks. Treatment may include a nightguard to protect the teeth and jaw. Medications such as muscle relaxants and Botox may be used to decrease the intensity of bruxism.  

When to see a doctor?

If you are experiencing symptoms of Bruxism, make an appointment with a doctor or dentist.

To consult an Oral Medicine Specialist regarding your bruxism, ask your doctor or dentist to refer you to TeleOralMedicine.  

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