Can Teeth Grinding or Clenching Contribute to Toothache and Pain?

Can Teeth Grinding or Clenching Contribute to Toothache and Pain?

Jan 01, 2024

Should you arise with a tender, rigid jaw or delicate teeth, it’s possible you’re grinding or tightening your teeth during the night. This common condition is known as bruxism. Many people aren’t even aware they do it since it happens when sleeping. So, how does bruxism lead to tooth pain? Here’s what you should know.

Does grinding cause tooth sensitivity?

Repeated grinding and clenching pressures can eventually cause tiny cracks or fissures in the tooth enamel. These micro-fractures expose the inner dentin layer of the teeth, which contains thousands of microtubules leading to the nerve. Dentin is far more sensitive than enamel. Once exposed, hot, cold, acidic, or sugary foods can cause sharp pains by aggravating the underlying nerves. Even cold air may trigger sensitivity.

Symptoms of damaged enamel from bruxism include:

  • Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Tooth sensitivity to sweets or pressure
  • Sudden, sharp toothache when chewing

So, in short, yes, bruxism can lead to increased tooth sensitivity and pain over time. The constant abrasive grinding wears down the protective enamel, revealing the tender dentin underneath.

What are the symptoms of grinding?

Besides tooth sensitivity, here are some common signs of nocturnal teeth grinding:

  • Sore, tired jaw muscles upon waking
  • Tenderness, pain in jaw joints and facial muscles
  • Headache or earache on waking
  • Disturbed sleep or waking with a start
  • Flattened, fractured, chipped teeth over time

Take note if a partner hears you grinding at night. Since it happens subconsciously, many patients are unaware of their bruxism until dental damage is more advanced.

Can nighttime grinding cause pain?

Yes, nocturnal bruxism (while sleeping) can cause tooth pain, jaw pain, and facial muscular pain. The powerful clenching and grinding forces can strain the temporomandibular joints on each side of the jaw and the facial and jaw muscles.

In particular, the masseter muscle, which controls jaw clenching, is often tender and sore after a night of heavy grinding. The temporalis muscle used in chewing can also develop myofascial pain. Damaged teeth themselves may be sensitive and painful due to enamel loss.

Is facial muscle pain related?

Muscular pain often accompanies bruxism tooth pain. Why? Because the jaw muscles work overtime during forceful grinding and clenching at night. Common symptoms include:

  • Aching jaw muscles upon waking
  • Facial muscle tenderness around the jaw
  • Jaw muscle spasms or tightness
  • Jaw pain when chewing
  • Difficulty fully opening the mouth

This muscular pain and tension results from repetitive overuse of the chewing and clenching muscles. The strained muscles then become tender and inflamed, leading to headaches.

How to stop grinding pain?

If you think nighttime bruxism may be causing your tooth or jaw pain, make an appointment to see your dentist at 91730. They can assess your symptoms and inspect for dental harm, such as enamel erosion or cracks. A personalized night guard is frequently suggested to safeguard the teeth against additional grinding pressures.

The dentist near you may also suggest massage, warm compresses, and over-the-counter pain relievers to help relax the sore facial muscles. Sometimes, physical therapy is prescribed to help reduce muscle spasms and tightness. Reducing caffeine, alcohol use, and stress can also minimize bruxism intensity for some people.

Additionally, correcting uneven bites with orthodontics may aid recovery for some patients. In severe cases, Botox injections can paralyze overactive chewing and clenching muscles. Your Rancho Cucamonga dentist can help determine the best treatment options for stopping bruxism, reducing pain, and preventing permanent dental damage.

Don’t wait to address jaw pain, facial pain, or tooth sensitivity from suspected teeth grinding or clenching. The sooner you see your emergency dentist near you, the better chance of preventing serious dental problems down the road. Protect your smile by finding relief today!

Visit Talent Dental in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, if you’re experiencing tooth pain, jaw pain, or headaches. We can help diagnose bruxism and craft a personalized treatment plan—call (909) 989-3566 to schedule your evaluation.

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