Bruxism Symptoms Overview
One of the most noticeable bruxism symptoms is loud tooth grinding at night. Unfortunately, you won’t notice this yourself since you are asleep. If you don’t have a roommate or partner to alert you to this disorder, you will have to look for subtler indications that you have been persistently clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth at night. Here are a few bruxism warning signs you may notice:
Tender or Sore Jaw
Tooth clenching and grinding put a lot of strain on the muscles and tendons in your jaw joints. This can lead to inflammation which causes recurring jaw pain. This may feel like general soreness or a throbbing sensation. It may be more intense during chewing and other activities that exercise the jaw muscles. Sometimes, bruxism symptoms show up as part of TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder). Your jaw may make a clicking or popping sound, and you may find it difficult to open your jaw all the way.
Referred (Distant) Pain
Tension in your jaw sometimes shows up as pain in surrounding areas. You might experience an earache, headache, facial pain, neck pain or shoulder pain. Your posture may have something to do with where the symptoms of discomfort appear. Of course, not all patients with bruxism experience pain. It’s possible to have no discomfort at all from this condition.
Constant pressure on your teeth can lead to tooth sensitivity. You might find that your teeth react with twinges or pain when you eat something hot, cold or sweet. Like many bruxism symptoms, this could also be a warning sign of many other dental problems.
You may inadvertently bite or chew on the inside of your cheek or on your tongue as you grind or clench your teeth during sleep. You could see indentations on the edges of your tongue where your teeth clamp down. Or, you might have a rough, sore patch on the inside of your cheek near your molars. It’s also possible that you will wake up in the night from the pain of biting your tongue.
One of the more worrying bruxism symptoms that mean you have a serious disorder is tooth damage. Examples of potential dental damage include:
- Abnormally worn enamel
- Abrasions on the tooth surface
- Chipped teeth
- Fractured teeth
- Damaged dental crowns
Some patients actually wear their teeth down to stubs over years of persistent grinding. Others experience loosened teeth over time. Damaged teeth are more prone to cavities and abscesses which can lead to the need for restoration or extraction. These are some of the warning signs your dentist will look for during your yearly oral health exam.
This is both a cause and a symptom of bruxism. You may feel anxious, tense or frustrated. If you notice that issues like jaw pain or facial muscle tension become more severe during times when you feel stressed, this is an indication that you may be grinding your teeth. In severe cases of stress-related bruxism, the condition has been linked to mood and sleep disorders such as depression and insomnia.
Diagnosis: Bruxism symptoms often overlap with those of other conditions. So, your dentist may look for and ask you questions about several warning signs that indicate you have this particular disorder.