How to Tell if You Have Bruxism

woman clenching teeth in bed

Have you ever woken up with a dull headache and sore jaw? Or maybe your spouse or partner mentioned that you were grinding your teeth during the night?

If so, you may be suffering from bruxism—a condition that involves teeth grinding or clenching during sleep or when awake.

According to John Hopkins: “Oral health specialists often point to too much stress and certain personality types as causes of bruxism. Bruxism often affects people with nervous tension, such as anger, pain, or frustration. It also affects people with aggressive, hurried, or overly competitive tendencies.”

Typically, people aged between 20 and 40 are more likely to have bruxism. However, it can cause serious dental health issues such as tooth sensitivity, jaw pain, cracked or broken teeth, or worn-down or flattened tooth surfaces.

In this article, we discuss some telltale signs to look for when trying to diagnose bruxism.

Teeth Grinding

Look for audible signs of grinding or clenching of your teeth when you're sleeping. This can produce a sound that your partner or loved ones may be able to hear. However, if you sleep alone, look for worn-down teeth or tooth enamel damage. Do note that bruxism can occur both when you're sleeping and when you're awake.

While there isn’t a sure-shot cure to bruxism, to remedy this, you can wear a custom-fit bruxism night guard to protect your teeth while you sleep. It’ll safeguard your teeth from breaking, reduce any pain or soreness, and of course, ensure you and your loved ones sleep peacefully.

Tooth Enamel Wearing Off

If your teeth look shorter or flatter than before, it’s likely the result of too much grinding. When tooth enamel wears away due to bruxism, it leaves behind flat, smooth surfaces. Conversely, the edges of your teeth may also be more pointed or sharp than normal.

Jaw Pain

Pain in the jaw and temple area is a common sign of bruxism and can occur both when you’re awake and when you’re asleep. It is a symptom of a tense jaw due to clenching and grinding and can be quite severe and persistent. Quick muscle contractions can also cause tension headaches.


Bruxism can also cause earaches and soreness around the ears due to the tension in the jaw muscles. This can be accompanied by a ringing or buzzing sound in one or both ears.

Tongue Indentations

If you have bruxism and clench or grind your teeth, you may have indentations on your tongue. This is because the tongue is pressed between the teeth for a prolonged period of time, and, as a result, the teeth leave a mark on it.

Damage Inside Cheeks

Sometimes, clenching your teeth may cause the saliva glands in your inner cheeks to become inflamed. If you feel burning, rawness, and patches of inflamed or sore skin in the inner cheeks, it could indicate bruxism. This can be accompanied by difficulty in swallowing or breathing.

Consult a Dentist!

While wearing a bruxism night guard can relieve you temporarily, consulting a dentist is always recommended. A dentist can diagnose bruxism based on the wear patterns of your teeth and recommend the best possible treatment.

If you’re looking for a solution for bruxism, look no further than Livonia Family Smiles! We’d love to help you get the dental care you deserve. To get started, contact us online today.