The Effects of Clenching and Grinding Your Teeth

November 7, 2023

Teeth grinding or clenching is what we in the dental world like to call bruxism. Many of us clench our teeth in emotional situations or subconsciously when we sleep. Often people can’t tell if they grind their teeth when sleeping, but make the connection based on symptoms they experience when they’re awake. These symptoms can include jaw pain, headaches, ear pain and more. You may find out you grind your teeth in your sleep because someone near you can hear it and lets you know.

It’s important to recognize the signs of bruxism to avoid damaging your teeth and decrease any other pain or discomfort.

Understanding the Signs

In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, an individual who grinds their teeth can also develop increased tooth sensitivity, damage to the enamel, and an aching jaw. Although there are various reasons why bruxism may occur, these are common ways you can try reducing it.

· Lower your stress levels

· Use a night retainer or mouth guard

· Reduce caffeine consumption

· Try jaw and stretching exercises

· Explore meditation

While you may just be a teeth clencher and grinder, take a look at other areas for more clues on the reason behind your bruxism.

· Some drugs can increase the likelihood of tooth grinding. Side effects from antidepressants, anti-psychotics and others may include clenching your jaw because of increased brain stimulation.

· Disorders such as sleep apnea could also be behind your tooth discomfort – when you lack sleep, it increases stress in your body, which in turn causes you to clench your jaw and have a restless sleep.


Whenever you experience tooth or jaw pain, it’s crucial to communicate your concerns to your dentist. We’ll go through various scenarios with you to target the root cause of your pain and grinding.

Since grinding often causes damage to the tooth, the next step is to look for any wear and tear, including cracks, fissures or even ground-down surfaces of your teeth. Treatment varies per individual and is based on factors such as age, medical history and extent of the damage. It may include wearing a nightguard or even getting Botox to help your muscles relax.

Bruxism is no joke, and can cause long-lasting pain or damage to your teeth and jaws. If you suspect you may be experiencing bruxism, book an appointment at Kildonan Crossing Dental Center to look into the best solution for your teeth. Our clinic is always accepting new patients!