Bruxism is a condition in which a person clenches or grinds their teeth unconsciously when you’re awake (awake bruxism) or while sleeping (sleep bruxism). While teeth grinding a person makes a chewing motion, rubbing their teeth against each other. While clenching a person holds their teeth together without moving the teeth and clenches the muscle.

Bruxism is a common issue among people and according to research conducted by the United Kingdom’s Bruxism Association around 10% of the population faces bruxism. With the help of an experienced dentist, it can be cured, you can find many professional dentists here in Portsmouth.

Types of bruxism and their symptoms

There are mainly two types of bruxism and each of them are discussed below:

Sleep bruxism: sleep bruxism is also considered a type of sleeping disorder and the symptoms include facial pain, jaw stiffness, a dull headache, and a grinding sound because of the moving jaw. People also experience ear pain, worn or sensitive teeth, and broken or loose fillings because of sleep bruxism. It must be noted that people affected by sleep bruxism cannot feel that they are grinding or clenching their teeth, but the person sleeping next to them can hear the noises it causes.

Awake bruxism: awake bruxism is different from sleep bruxism. Often person affected by awake bruxism does not grind their teeth rather they clench their teeth. Awake bruxism can cause issues like pain around the jaw, stiffness, and dull headache. Just like sleep bruxism, people affected by awake bruxism are not consciously aware that they are going through any such issue and may notice when they are focusing on something or feeling stressed.

Causes of bruxism

Bruxism does not have identical causes but some factors can act as a trigger to cause this situation:

  • Bruxism can be a temporary condition faced by children during their teeth growing age. However, this problem gets resolved on its own once they pass this period, without causing lasting damages.
  • In adults, stress has a significant association with sleep or awake bruxism.
  • People with habits like smoking, and drinking are more likely to face bruxism. Also, people who tend to drink coffee regularly are 1.5 times more vulnerable to bruxism.
  • Mental conditions like anxiety or depression can be a significant reason behind bruxism.
  • If a person is on medications like antidepressants or antipsychotics, such people become vulnerable to bruxism.
  • Sleep apnea, in which breathing stops temporarily while sleeping can reduce the quality of sleep which can further lead to daytime sleepiness. This condition can lead to a sleeping disorder known as sleep bruxism.


There are various treatments available that can help you out of bruxism:


A dentist might recommend you nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which can act as pain relief and can reduce the swelling caused due to bruxism. Contact an experienced local Portsmouth dental care center for the correct treatment. Your doctor can also ask you for short-term usage of medication for muscle relaxation which can stop the cycle of teeth grinding or clenching.

Using mouthguard

Dentists might recommend using mouthguards or mouth splints while sleeping because it can protect your teeth from the side effects of sleep bruxism. These mouthguards are generally made from flexible rubber or plastic which acts as a physical barrier and helps in reducing teeth grinding.


Biofeedback is a therapy used to help people become aware of their involuntary bodily functions like breathing, heart rate, or bruxism and teach them how to control these involuntary body functions.


Bruxism is not a serious medical condition and generally, bruxism is treated depending upon the symptoms the patient is experiencing.  For example, if a person is experiencing stress, depression, or anxiety then seeking help for these conditions will help their bruxism.  In several cases, Botox treatment also helps with bruxism as Botox can paralyze the muscle responsible for teeth grinding.