What’s So Bad About Grinding My Teeth?

Dentist in Calgary Serving Northwest, Downtown, and Nearby Calgary, Alberta


Man holding jaw and clenching teeth. Obviously in pain

Tooth grinding (bruxism) is a stress response that often occurs unconsciously. In many cases, bruxism self-resolves without causing any damage. In some, however, the habit becomes persistent, which may result in a host of serious consequences.

Habitual tooth grinding can result in uneven tooth wear and damage to restorations. These things can change bite tension, strength, and function, and may even heighten risks for tooth infection, gum disease, and tooth loss. What’s more, persistent tension in the jaw can result in chronic headaches and may even increase the risk of developing TMJ, a condition marked by the misalignment of the jaw.

TMJ Symptoms

While the causes of TMJ are not always known, bruxism is a well-known risk factor. Symptoms that indicate TMJ has developed include:

  • Clicking and popping noises in the jaw
  • Pain or swelling around the jaw joint
  • Headaches and facial pain
  • Neck, back, and shoulder pain
  • Ear ringing without infection
  • Sinus and ocular pressure

When left untreated, TMJ may create muscular tension in the face and neck that impacts posture, digestive response, and more. Treating this condition may help to prevent serious consequences while eliminating discomfort by restoring proper alignment to the jaw.

If you are a tooth grinder, addressing the issue through mindfulness and stress reduction practices is a good idea. This can help to reduce occurrences of bruxism along with the risk of irritating your TMJ. Stress reduction may be a good idea even if you are not certain if your grind your teeth. Bruxism often occurs while we’re sleeping. It can be difficult to catch yourself doing it.

Stress reduction efforts can be combined with other TMJ treatment options such as an occlusal guard, orthodontic treatment, restorative services, and more. Combining therapies is often the most effective method of dealing with TMJ. During your treatment evaluation, Dr. Schick will carefully examine your jaw and surrounding structures to determine the best course of treatment.

Please call Evolution Dental at 403-208-9965 to schedule your treatment evaluation today. Located in Calgary, we welcome patients from all surrounding areas of Alberta.