Teeth grinding (bruxism)

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is much more than just an annoying noise. Because grinding and clenching your teeth at night has a profound effect on the health of your teeth and jaw.

Perhaps you have noticed it in yourself or someone else and are now asking yourself: What is behind it? Is it bad? And above all: what can you do to prevent teeth grinding? In this medically reviewed article, we get to the bottom of these questions and offer you practical solutions and expert advice.

  • Teeth grinding (bruxism) affects people of all ages and often occurs during sleep as well as when awake due to stress.

  • The symptoms of teeth grinding range from worn teeth and jaw pain to headaches. If left untreated, even long-term damage to the teeth and jaw joints is possible.

Zähneknirschen - Bruxismus
Medically reviewed by:

Medically reviewed by:

Teeth grinding: Simply explained!

Teeth grinding(bruxism) is the unconscious, intense clenching and grinding of the teeth, which can occur both during sleep and when awake. Although the causes are varied and in some cases have not yet been fully researched, doctors suspect that factors such as stress, misaligned teeth or sleep disorders play a role.

You should not underestimate the effects of bruxism. This is because the repeated clenching and rubbing of the teeth creates pressure that can damage the tooth substance and cause pain in the jaw area. Even headaches, tension and damage to the jaw joint are possible. But recognizing bruxism itself is sometimes difficult. As the symptoms vary and are not always directly associated with teeth grinding. Likewise, the treatment is as individual as its causes: From relaxation techniques to bite splints to medical treatments.

In the following sections, we delve deeper into the subject matter to take a closer look at the causes and symptoms of bruxism. We will also show you the consequences of teeth grinding and how you can effectively combat it.

Teeth grinding (bruxism): Symptoms

Bruxism is characterized by a variety of symptoms that go far beyond the actual grinding and clenching of the teeth. One of the most striking signs of bruxism is the abnormal wear of the teeth. This can manifest itself in flattened chewing surfaces and cracks in the enamel. It is often the dentist who is the first to notice these changes during a routine examination.

Many sufferers complain of headaches, especially in the temples, as well as tension in the neck and shoulder area. These can be so intense that they noticeably impair the quality of life. The strain on the temporomandibular joint caused by constant clenching and grinding can also lead to jaw joint pain and cracking or grinding when opening and closing the mouth. In some cases, there is even limited mobility of the temporomandibular joint.

But be careful: bruxism can also go unnoticed. Without noticeable symptoms. However, anyone who suspects the first signs should seek professional help. In the next section, we look at the consequences of teeth grinding.

What consequences can teeth grinding have?

In the long term, bruxism can have serious consequences that go far beyond dental damage. The constant pressure and friction lead to accelerated wear of the tooth structure, including the enamel, which in the worst case can result in tooth loss. Dental surgery is often necessary to repair the damage caused.

The temporomandibular joint, which is under a lot of strain due to the constant grinding and clenching of the teeth, can also suffer permanent damage. Osteoarthritis of the temporomandibular joint is possible in the long term. Osteoarthritis? This is a sign of wear and tear on a joint, which is accompanied by pain and limited function.

From an esthetic point of view, bruxism leads to an accentuation of the jaw angle, as the chewing muscle becomes larger when teeth are ground. The result: the lower third of the face becomes wider. This is difficult to influence optically, even with a Jawline injection or chin correction.

Important: Early diagnosis and treatment of bruxism is essential in order to start treatment in good time and improve quality of life.

Teeth grinding (bruxism): Causes

The causes of bruxism are complex and cannot always be clearly identified. Night-time teeth grinding is often associated with stress and mental tension. And it is precisely these stressful situations that often manifest themselves unconsciously during sleep, leading to tense jaw muscles and teeth grinding.

Misaligned teeth are another cause of teeth grinding. This is because if the upper and lower jaws are not correctly aligned with each other, this results in uneven loads that promote teeth grinding. Did you know that alcohol and nicotine not only lead to facial wrinkles, but can also trigger bruxism?

As you can see, it is important to precisely analyze and know the individual causes, because only then is a holistic and sustainable therapy possible.

How can teeth grinding (bruxism) be treated?

The treatment of bruxism aims to relieve the symptoms and address the underlying causes to prevent long-term damage to bones and teeth.

  • Bite splint: This is customized and worn at night. It protects the teeth from further abrasion and helps to minimize pressure on the temporomandibular joint and muscles.
  • Relaxation exercises: They promote stress reduction and help to loosen the jaw muscles.
  • Masseter Botox: The substance is injected in tiny amounts into the masseter muscle to relax it and effectively reduce teeth grinding.
  • Orthodontic treatment: If you have an incorrect bite or misaligned teeth, there is usually no way around a dentist or oral surgeon.

Why Botox is so effective in the treatment of teeth grinding (bruxism)

Botox has proven to be particularly effective in the treatment of bruxism. This is because it acts directly on the overactive muscles responsible for teeth grinding by blocking the nerve signals that lead to excessive tension. The result? A noticeable relaxation of the muscles and a reduction in teeth grinding. Imagine that the constant tension would subside and you could finally enjoy a good night’s sleep. This is exactly what Botox makes possible when it is used in a targeted and dosed manner.

But how does it work? Botox is injected in tiny amounts into the affected muscles, where it takes effect over a period of around six months. Important: The dose and injection points must be chosen correctly, as this is the only way to ensure that the treatment is safe and effective. The expertise of the doctor plays a central role here and should not be underestimated.

Botox is therefore a modern and innovative treatment option that has the potential to noticeably improve the lives of those affected. Did you know that even a gummy smile or a strawberry chin can be treated effectively with tiny amounts of Botox?

Any questions? Our FAQ section has the answers!

There are several effective measures against teeth grinding. The use of a night splint protects the teeth and reduces pressure on the jaw. Relaxation exercises and stress management techniques are also helpful in reducing unconscious tension. And in many cases, Botox is a good support. Botox not only reduces forehead wrinkles, frown lines and crow’s feet, but also relaxes the jaw muscles when used in a targeted manner.

Whether teeth grinding can be completely cured depends on the individual cause and the intensity of the bruxism. In many cases, however, the symptoms can be treated effectively and the quality of life of those affected can be significantly improved. Early detection and interdisciplinary cooperation in the treatment process play a decisive role.

Teeth grinding can have many effects on oral health and general well-being. These include worn teeth, pain in the jaw area, headaches and tension in the neck. In the long term, the temporomandibular joints can also be damaged and other health problems can arise. By taking a proactive approach and considering available treatments such as an occlusal splint or Botox injection, you can minimize the symptoms of bruxism and avoid subsequent damage.

More questions? Simply make a personal consultation appointment online.


Last updated: 04.11.2023