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Teeth grinding (Bruxism)

17 Ways to Stop Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Many professional and home remedies are suggested to stop teeth grinding. Dr. Khalifeh will discuss 17 professional and home remedies to stop teeth grinding(bruxism) in this post.

Bruxism or teeth grinding, and clinching is a common problem affecting all ages. 8-31.4% of adults in the US grid their teeth. Bruxism while sleeping is called nocturnal bruxism. Teeth clenching and grinding may also occur during daytime, here it’s called daytime or awake bruxism. A third type of teeth grinding is related to the use of certain medications. This type of bruxism called drug-induced bruxism.

Bruxism could be associated with TMJ pain and teeth damage. You may not realize you grind your teeth until you have symptoms. If you grind your teeth, you are not alone. The six-million-dollar question is:

How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth (Bruxism)?

A more realistic question will be:

Can You Stop Teeth Grinding?

A short answer for this question is No and Yes. Yes, you might stop daytime bruxism, but you cannot stop sleep bruxism. Sleep bruxism is a genetic problem and is one of the sleep motor disorders. Daytime bruxism is an acquired habit that can be stopped.

There are many remedies that you can find on google search to stop bruxism.

Are these remedies effective?

Are they supported by scientific data?

Which of the remedies works best for you?

To answer these questions, you should find and understand the underlying cause of your teeth grinding and related symptoms. 

What are the Causes for Teeth Grinding?

The following are the most common causes of teeth grinding:

  1. Genetics
  2. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea
  3. Gastrointestinal problems such as GERD
  4. Stress
  5. Upper respiratory tract infection
  6. Tonsilitis
  7. Habitual
  8. Weightlifting, this is usually associated with teeth clinching

Dr. Khalifeh is a TMJ and dental sleep medicine specialist. He will guide you find the best solution for your teeth bruxism.

Now, let’s explore and discuss all suggested remedies for teeth grinding. 

1. Treat the Underlying Medical Conditions

The first step to treat bruxism is to remove the underlying medical condition. If your condition didn’t improve, you could move forward with other treatment options explained in this post.

2. Oral Splints and Mouthguards

Mouthguards are the most used method to treat bruxism. They are best for sleep bruxism but can be used for daytime and drug-induced bruxism too. Theoretically, a mouthguard also known as occlusal guard and occlusal splint works as teeth cushion to stop them from grinding against each other during sleep. 

Mouthguards can be custom-made by your dentist, or you may buy them from drug stores or from amazon called over the counter (OTC) mouthguard. Occlusal splints come in different designs, different thickness and are made of different materials. They are made for the upper teeth or lower teeth or both. They can be covering all the teeth (full occlusal coverage) or partial coverage. Occlusal splints can be hard, soft, or in between. Do not use OTC night guard for long time.

According to Dr. Khalifeh, you should be using a full coverage hard or semi hard occlusal splints for most cases. Soft splints can be used for short time for painful TMJ then switched to harder material.We also recommend that you use a custom-made mouth guard. Because occlusal guards can shift your bite, a custom-made guard is the safest for your teeth. A custom-made splint may protect their teeth from damage. Mouthguards may also reduce the strain on your jaw muscles.

 

How much a mouthguard cost?

The cost of a mouthguard varies depending on the material used, the design and the geographic area. A custom-made mouth guard may cost over a $1000 while OTC one cost less than $100. Dr. Khalifeh in general recommends using a custom-made occlusal splint as it is less likely to cause a shift in your bite that will cost you a lot to fix.  

Custom-made mouthguards are fitted specifically to your jaw. They’re typically more comfortable and more durable than OTC mouthguards. 

You should only use OTC mouthguards as a temporary solution while waiting for a custom-made splint to be ready. OTC splints are not as effective for bruxism as custom-made ones, but their low cost may make them an attractive to many people with bruxism.

3. Occlusal Correction

Enameloplasty is a dental procedure that may be used to reshape the biting surface of the teeth. This procedure is not effective in most cases, it might cause un-necessary sensitivity and damage to your teeth. You should get this procedure only after careful evaluation.

Some patients with damaged enamel and flat occlusal surface of their teeth might need onlays or crowns to rebuild their occlusal relation between the upper and lower teeth. This is a very expensive and complex procedure. It should be done by an expert in full mouth reconstruction who will build your bite to maximum function and esthetics.

After finishing reconstruction your bite, your dentist will mostly make you a custom-made mouth guard to protect your new restorations from teeth grinding.

4. BOTOX Injection

Dr. Khalifeh performed a meta-analysis study on BOTOX for myofascial pain in the head and shoulder muscles. He concluded that BOTOX may reduce pain in patients with myofascial pain syndrome.

However, BOTOX will not eliminate teeth grinding, it will only reduce the muscles contracting forces which will protect the teeth from the grinding damage.

We recommend you discuss with your dentist the pros and cons of this treatment option before using BOTOX injections to treat your bruxism.

How much BOTOX Will be Needed to Treat Bruxism?

Depending on the size of the muscles and your symptoms, a 50-100 unites of BOTOX will be injected directly into the masseter and temporalis muscles. These are muscles that close the jaw and are involved with teeth clinching.

Remember, BOTOX will not cure or stop bruxism, but it can only help relax the muscle and reduce bruxism associated pain. This procedure may also alleviate teeth grinding and associated headaches. 

The injections may need to be repeated every 3-4 months. Do not use BOTOX as a first option for TMJ pain.

5. Biofeedback

Biofeedback is used to help people become aware of the bruxism behavior. It can be used to help patients with nighttime and daytime bruxism. 

During biofeedback sessions, a therapist will teach you to control your jaw muscle movements using visual, vibratory, or sound feedback generated by a special devise called electromyography. 

Biofeedback technique was found to have limited success on treating bruxism. 

6. Stress-reduction

There in a very strong link between stress and teeth grinding, teeth clinching and bruxism.

In other words, stress-reduction techniques may help treat some patients with bruxism. Stress reduction is also great for your overall health. 

These are some stress-reduction techniques to try: 

Meditation, yoga, exercise, traveling, breathing exercises and relaxation therapy, etc.. Refer to our guide for stress reduction protocol explained in an earlier post.

7. Stop or Switch the Medication

As mentioned earlier, bruxism can be drug induced. Antipsychotic medications and some antidepressant medications special those that have serotonin reuptake inhibition effect can induce teeth bruxism. However, we don’t recommend you stop taking these medications on your own, we suggest discussing with your physician switching to different medications that do not induce bruxism.

8. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is an effective technique to reduce pain and restore function caused by teeth bruxism. Patients with symptomatic bruxism may be referred to physical therapist to manage bruxism related symptoms. However, you can use a self-treatment protocol for TMJ pain relief explained in a previous post.

9. Ultrasound Therapy

Ultrasound therapy devises may help reduce symptoms caused by teeth grinding. There are 2 types of ultrasound therapy devises. The first type generate heat that helps sore muscles heal and restore function. The second type will relax sore muscles by producing vibration waves. Both devices are helpful for treating pain caused by teeth grinding but they will not stop the bruxism episodes.

10. Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)

Low Level Laser therapy also proven to help symptoms caused by bruxism, but they will not stop you from grinding your teeth. LLLT is believed to activate the mitochondria in your muscles which is responsible for producing energy in our tissue.

11. Hypnosis

Hypnosis was used for the intension to stop bruxism. The data about how effectiveness of hypnosis treatment for bruxism is not clear.

12. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is another tool that helps treat pain associated with teeth grinding but will not stop bruxism. This procedure is a great choice for patients who cannot use anti-inflammatory medications and the have TMJ and muscle soreness because of teeth grinding.

13. Medications

Many types of pain medications are used to treat patients who grind there teeth. Over the counter medications (OTC) such as Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen are very commonly used. Other medications include, steroids, muscle relaxants and antidepressants may be used for more advanced cases. None of these medications will stop bruxism, they all may help treat pain caused by this problem. Do not use OTC pain medications for long time without professional consultation. Do not use Ibuprofen if you have stomach ulcer. 

14. Awareness

Awareness of the grinding habit is very effective and in fact may stop awake bruxism. Dr. Khalifeh usually aske you to keep your teeth separated throughout the day. You can use a reminder on your smart phone to remind you not to clinch or grind your teeth. This process also as good as a mouthguard is reducing pain associated with clinching and grinding. 

15. Cut on Caffeine, Alcohol and Smoking

Do not use or cut on using caffeine, alcohol and smoking if you have sleep bruxism. These 3 things might cause your sleep bruxism to get worse. You need to cut on using these 3 things.

16. Jaw Muscles Exercises

Dr. Khalifeh recommends doing some exercises that can help you relax the jaw muscles and correct the alignment of your jaw. These exercises are very helpful is reducing pain associated with bruxism. However, read our previous post: “TMJ Pain Relief Using Self Treatment Protocol”,  it will tell you what exercises to use.  

Jaw muscles exercises will not stop teeth grinding.

17. Message Therapy 

Massaging your jaw muscles may loosen tight muscles. Message treatment is soothing and can help reduce TMJ pain. Unfortunately, message therapy cannot stop teeth bruxism. 

Additional Recommendations for Painful Bruxism

  • Do not eat chewy food, hard candy or large bite.
  • Do not chew ice, bite your nails or pencil.
  • Eat healthy food rich in fibers.
  • Maintain regular visits to your dentist

Why You Need to Treat teeth grinding?

Dr. Khalifeh suggests treating teeth grinding because it can cause many side effects, The following are only some of these side effects:

  • Pain in the jaw and face muscles
  • Ear pain
  • Tinnitus or ringing sound in your ears
  • Headaches
  • Pain in your teeth
  • Wearing down and damaging of teeth
  • Bone loss around the teeth
  • Damaging of fillings and crowns
  • Loss of teeth and implants
  • Jaw muscle enlargement
  • TMJ disorders (TMJ)

Who I Should See for Teeth Grinding in Los Angeles?

 Dr. Mohammad Khalifeh, DDS, MS. Is board-certified Orofacial Pain and TMJ specialist. He is a Diplomate American Board of Orofacial Pain. Above all, Dr. Khalifeh is TMD and Orofacial Pain Board Certified doctor. Additionally, for over 25 years, Dr. Khalifeh is helping patients with TMJ and jaw pain in Los Angeles, Miracle Mile, Park La Brea, Beverly Hills, Larchmont Village, Hollywood, Santa Monica, California, and the rest of the word.

Our address: SAG-AFTRA Plaza, 5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite #5, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Phone: (323) 933-3855

Final Words

Teeth grinding condition is common in all ages with many possible causes. Stopping this condition is not an easy task specially when dealing with sleep bruxism. Early treatment is necessary to avoid dental, TMJ, and periodontal complications. Dr. Khalifeh is experienced in diagnosing and treating bruxism.

 

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