8 Signs and Symptoms

signs-of-bruxism

When you have an unstable “bite”, the muscles responsible for closing your mouth become uncoordinated and over-worked. As these muscles work harder and harder, they transmit pathologic forces to your teeth. This situation leads to a host of problems known collectively as Occlusal Disease.
  • Clenching and grinding

    The only time your teeth are supposed to touch is when you swallow. Even when you are chewing, there is food between your teeth. If you catch yourself with your teeth together, you are clenching. Even lightly holding or rubbing your teeth together can, over time, fatigue your muscles, wear down your teeth, and potentially cause problems in your jaw joints.
  • Tooth sensitivity

    Trauma to teeth from a bad bite can cause inflammation in the pulp, making teeth sensitive to temperature changes. In some cases the inflammation can cause a tooth to need root canal therapy.
  • Tooth mobility or migration

    We all know that teeth can be moved by orthodontic forces. Forces from a bad bite, clenching and grinding can also move teeth.
  • Gum recession

    Clenching and grinding can rock your teeth back and forth, cause some loss of the bone that supports your teeth. As the bone recedes, the gums follow, exposing sensitive root structure that is softer than enamel and more susceptible to wear and decay.
  • Cracked teeth, fractured roots, and broken restorations

    A skilled carpenter can drive a nail into a block of wood, but if you strike a nail at an angle you will either bend the nail or split the wood. Back teeth are like the carpenter’s nail. They are designed to withstand a tremendous amount of pressure when the forces are directed straight up and down, but a bad bite directs the forces of occlusion at an off-angle. These traumatic forces often result in cracked teeth, fractured roots, and broken restorations.
  • Worn and chipped teeth

    In a perfected occlusion, back teeth can’t rub. When teeth do rub, they wear down, thinning the enamel until it chips away. These wear patterns can be found on any tooth in the mouth, and are often a key clue to the presence of a bite problem.
  • Frequent headaches

    When teeth and bones are not in harmony, the muscles automatically position the lower jaw to allow the most stable bite available. These muscles must work non-stop to hold this position every time your teeth come together. If you clench or grind your teeth, they work even harder without relief. Eventually these muscles go into spasms that are felt as TMJ pain, facial pain, and headaches. This is why bite problems are a major cause of headaches.
  • Jaw pain

    When teeth, joints, and jaws do not work in perfect harmony, the powerful muscles that close your mouth fight against the weaker muscles responsible for repositioning your jaw to find the best place to close.These positioning muscles also attach to the cartilage between your jaw bone and the sockets it fits into. When the muscles become hyperactive, fatigued, and go into spasm they can pull this cartilage out of position and cause joint pain commonly known as TMJ or TMD (Temporo-Mandibular Dysfunction).