Bruxism or Teeth Grinding in Scottsdale Arizona

About Bruxism:

Bruxism is commonly called teeth grinding and is a para-functional habit commonly seen in children and adults. Teeth grinding, in most cases occurs involuntarily without an individual being aware of it, and generally happens at night while sleeping. The habit holds major importance in the field of dentistry due to the number of adverse effects it poses on temporo-mandibular joint, facial teeth grindingmuscles as well as the teeth.

Effects of Bruxism:

Frequent, long term bruxism has a number of harmful effects on the teeth, surrounding tissues and muscles. The most prominent of these effects is the gradual loss of tooth structure, or tooth wear due to abrasion. Frequent night time teeth grinding can lead to the depletion of the enamel layer thus exposing the dentin; when the dentin is exposed, the patient may complain of generalized tooth sensitivity. The teeth also become more prone to caries and decay as a result of tooth wear.

The habit can cause inflammation of the ligaments supporting teeth being subjected to increased forces during bruxism. It can also cause the teeth or chip from the edges, fracture or become mobile in their sockets.
Another important adverse effect is TMJ pain. Frequent night time bruxism can cause muscle and temporo-mandibular joint pain which can cause the patient to experience difficulty or discomfort on chewing, speaking, moving the lower jaw and yawning. TMJ pain is also associated with trismus (limited mouth opening) and clicking sounds upon opening and closing of the mouth.

Prolonged bruxisum can lead to hypertrophy (enlargement or toughening) or the facial muscles involved in clenching and grinding teeth.

Patients also complain of jaw pain, tooth aches and headaches radiating to the temporal bone.

Types of Bruxism:

There are two main types of bruxism namely, sleep bruxism and awake bruxism. As the name indicated, sleep bruxism refers to the teeth clenching and grinding that occurs when the patient is asleep and unaware of the habit. Awake bruxism refers to the teeth grinding that takes place in complete wakefulness, involuntarily. The latter is said to be the more severe of the two.

Causes of Bruxism:

There are a number of cause associated with teeth clenching and grinding in children as well as adults. The leading cause of bruxism in adults is stress, depression and or anxiety. Another prominent cause is the disturbance of dopamine release in the central nervous system of the body. Experts also suggest that children whose parents suffered from bruxism are twice as likely to grind and clench their teeth habitually as well. Mal-occlusion or an improper bite may also be a cause leading to the development of bruxism in children and adults.

Medical conditions frequently associated with the para-functional habit include direct trauma, epilepsy, Down’s syndrome, Autism, cerebral palsy, disturbed patterns of sleeping, Huntington’s disease, atypical facial pain and Parkinson’s among others.


Effective treatment and management of the condition require a multi-disciplinary approach. Dental restoration and rehabilitations are necessary to ensure ideal occlusion of the teeth without hindrances. Psychological and stress related issues must be addressed on priority basis. Analgesics (painkillers) are prescribed to patients for effective management of the pain and dental appliances including mouth guards and splints may be fabricated to prevent tooth loss and damage from bruxism. Physiotherapy and jaw muscle exercises also play an important role in reliving muscular pain and limited mouth opening.

At Jerome Ridde DDS, our team is skilled at diagnosing, assessing, evaluating and managing all kinds of problems related to the jaw, joint and teeth. If you are experiencing dental problems due to frequent night time teeth grinding and clenching involuntarily, get in touch with us today on (480) 991-4410 and we’ll provide you with the most effective permanent solution to the problem so you can sleep peacefully again!