Millions of people suffer from a common condition known as teeth grinding or bruxism. It is a condition where you tightly clench your upper and lower teeth together and move them back and forth, mainly at night. While most people can grind their teeth occasionally without any harm, constant grinding can cause severe dental problems, including jaw pain and tooth damage.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the causes, symptoms, and relief options available and provide you with an answer to the question, “How long does teeth-grinding pain last?”.
Definition of Teeth Grinding
It is the unconscious clenching and grinding of the upper and lower teeth together, often during sleep. It can also occur during the day in some people with stress or anxiety. If not addressed, it can cause serious dental, jaw, and muscle problems. It is essential to note that teeth grinding is not a dental disease, and its treatment depends on the underlying cause.
Levels Of Teeth-Grinding Pain
Pain can mean very different things to different people. While one person may barely notice any discomfort, another might suffer excruciating pain due to the same condition. The range of severity levels can vary depending on the individual and how frequently they grind their teeth. Understanding the different pain levels to seek treatment if it becomes unbearable is important.
By consulting with a dental professional, you can find relief and prevent further damage to your teeth and jaw muscles.
Causes of Teeth Grinding
We will explore some of the most common factors contributing to grinding and what you can do to protect your well-being.
One possible reason for this issue is sleep disorders, especially sleep apnea.
During sleep, there is a condition called sleep apnea, where breathing gets interrupted, resulting in loud snoring and gasping.
To improve their breathing, individuals with sleep apnea may grind their teeth. Grinding teeth issues can also be caused by other disorders like restless leg syndrome or periodic limb movements.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
You can move your mouth because of the joint between your jawbone and skull. It’s known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). When this jaw joint is damaged or strained, it can cause a range of symptoms, for instance, jaw pain, clicking or popping sounds and teeth grinding.
TMJ disorder can result from various factors, such as injuries, arthritis, or stress. If you are experiencing jaw pain or stiffness, consult your dentist or doctor to determine if TMJ disorder is the cause of your grinding issue. Treatment options include jaw exercises, medication, or even surgery in severe cases.
Another possible cause of grinding is teeth sensitivity. When your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold temperatures, acidic foods, or pressure, you may unconsciously grind your teeth to numb the discomfort. Various factors, such as gum recession, enamel erosion, or cavities, can cause tooth sensitivity. To reduce sore teeth and sensitivity, practise good oral hygiene, avoid harsh toothbrushes or toothpaste, and apply fluoride treatments or desensitising agents as your dentist recommends.
Stress and Anxiety
Perhaps the most well-known cause of teeth grinding is stress and anxiety. When you are under a lot of pressure, your body releases hormones that can trigger various physical and emotional responses, including grinding. Chronic stress can lead to bruxism, which can worsen over time and cause more severe dental problems.
Risk Factors For Tooth Grinding
While anyone can experience teeth grinding, certain risk factors can increase your likelihood of developing bruxism. These include:
- Age: Young children are more likely to grind their teeth, but the condition can persist into adulthood.
- Medications: Grinding can be a side effect of some medications, including antidepressants and antipsychotics.
- Substance abuse: Alcohol, caffeine, or recreational drugs can induce grinding.
- Genetics: If someone in your family has bruxism, you may also be more prone to develop it.
- Misaligned teeth or uneven bite: You may be more inclined to grind them if your teeth do not meet properly.
Symptoms of Teeth Grinding
The primary symptom is jaw pain, which can radiate to the ear and cause headaches. Grinding can also wear down the tooth enamel, causing sensitivity, tooth pain, and even tooth fractures. Other symptoms of teeth grinding include difficulty opening and closing the mouth, clicking or popping jaw joints, and sore muscles.
Relief And Treatment Options for Teeth Grinding Pain
The treatment for grinding depends on the underlying cause. Now let’s explore some of the most effective treatments for teeth-grinding pain, including ways to prevent loose teeth or even tooth loss.
Use of Mouthguards Or Night Guards
Mouthguards are a popular treatment for grinding pain. These custom-made plastic appliances are worn over the teeth for protection against grinding and clenching. Mouthguards help to reduce the damage caused by grinding while also providing some relief from pain and discomfort.
Stress is one of the key causes of teeth grinding, so learning relaxation techniques can help relieve the pain associated with grinding. Meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises are some ways to manage stress, and these techniques can help you relax and reduce tension in the jaw muscles.
You may also benefit from therapy or counselling to address the root of your anxiety.
Dental treatments can also alleviate teeth-grinding pain. Some patients may need dental work, such as fillings, dental bonding, or even oral surgery to correct underlying dental problems that can cause grinding.
Dental treatments can also help to prevent teeth loss or address loose teeth that may result from bruxism.
Medications may sometimes be necessary to reduce the pain associated with teeth clenching. Muscle relaxants can help reduce the amount of clenching and grinding while also aiding in relaxation. You can ease your pain effectively with over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Lifestyle changes such as limiting alcohol and caffeine intake and avoiding chewing gum or hard foods can help alleviate grinding pain. Reducing your daily stress levels can also help prevent or minimise teeth-grinding pain, and getting enough sleep is crucial as bruxism often occurs during sleeping hours.
How Long Does Teeth Grinding Pain Last?
The duration of pain varies depending on the cause and severity of the condition. In mild cases, grinding pain may last for a few days to a week and may not require treatment. However, in severe cases, pain may last several weeks to months and require medical attention. The best way to manage grinding pain is to address the underlying cause and seek medical advice if the pain persists for an extended period.
Exploring Alternative Treatments For Bruxism
As an effective treatment, healthcare professionals may recommend biofeedback, which helps individuals learn to control muscle tension and reduce stress.
Additionally, Mandibular Advancement Splints and dental appliances can realign the jaw and teeth to prevent grinding and reduce the risk of dental damage.
Other therapies, such as acupuncture or cognitive-behavioural therapy, may also be recommended on a case-by-case basis. Consulting with a healthcare professional can provide personalised guidance on which alternative treatments may be best suited to managing this condition.
Finding the right treatment may take time and patience, but it’s worth the effort to alleviate the discomfort and improve your quality of life.
The Potential Long-Term Effects Of Untreated Bruxism
Untreated bruxism can significantly impact your dental health, leading to a range of long-term effects. One of the most common effects of untreated bruxism is tooth fractures and chips. Grinding puts excessive pressure on the teeth, leading to chipped and broken teeth that may require expensive restorative treatments. And if left untreated, this problem may eventually lead to tooth loss. Get more information.
Untreated bruxism can also lead to gum recession, which exposes the roots of the teeth. This condition significantly affects the strength and viability of teeth, leading to extreme sensitivity, advanced decay, and pus formation, which further impacts oral health.
In conclusion, teeth grinding is a common condition that can cause severe dental problems. If left untreated, bruxism can lead to tooth and gum damage, chronic facial pain, and other related health problems.
The length of time that grinding pain lasts can vary depending on the specifics and the severity of the grinding. It is crucial to seek treatment from a dental professional to prevent further damage to your teeth, jaw, and muscles.
Several treatments, such as mouthguards or relaxation techniques, can help relieve discomfort and prevent future damage. Don’t suffer in silence; seek treatment today and protect your dental health for the future.
Say goodbye to grinding your teeth with Melbourne Dental Sleep Clinic. Book your appointment today. Call us at
Teeth grinding (bruxism) – NHS
Bruxism (teeth grinding) – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic
Taking on Teeth Grinding and Clenching | NIH News in Health