Symptoms of Teeth Grinding

by Samantha on June 5, 2013

Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is the condition of grinding or gnashing your teeth or clenching your jaws involuntarily. Usually, this is done while a person is sleeping, thus being given the name of sleep bruxism. Most people don’t realize when they are exhibiting any of these symptoms, but anyone sleeping near them will most likely hear their teeth grinding together.

There are many signs and symptoms of bruxism, and they’re not hard to spot. That’s why, if you notice any of the symptoms or signs, you need to gauge the severity of them. This will help you decide whether or not you need to make an appointment to see your dentist (you can make appointments through

Symptoms of teeth grinding, or bruxism, include:

  • Obviously, there will be teeth grinding and/or clenching typically while sleeping that produce sounds so loud that it wakes your partner.
  • Finding yourself with chipped, worn down, fractured or flattened teeth.
  • Worn down tooth enamel that shows the tooth’s deeper layers.
  • Experiencing acute sensitivity in your teeth.
  • Jaw muscle pain or tightness.
  • Jaw muscle contractions severe enough to cause an earache.
  • Tension type headache.
  • Face pain.
  • Chewed tissue on inside of cheek.
  • Indentations on the tongue.

You may experience all of these symptoms or just a few of them. A huge telling point will be if your teeth begin to become worn, damaged or extremely sensitive. You may also have some pain in your jaw, face or ears. If you happen to have a partner, or someone else sleeps near you, they may tell you that you’re making a grinding noise with your teeth while you’re sleeping. This is also a huge red flag when it comes to determining whether or not you may be suffering from bruxism.

People with acute bruxism will typically wake up with their jaws clenched and their teeth held tightly together. You may not be in the actual throes of grinding your teeth, but you will notice the muscle tension in your jaws. Sometimes this tension turns into some painful facial cramps.

This is what also can lead to those excruciatingly painful tension headaches. If this has become a normal thing for you, chances are your dentist can tell you how to deal with teeth grinding so that it’s either controlled or goes away altogether.

The important thing to remember is if you do notice that you’re experiencing some, or all, of these symptoms, you need to contact your dentist and get in for an appointment as soon as you can.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Adrienne July 18, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I remember going to the dentist one time because I was having headaches every day. I would wake up with them and she would ask me if I’m grinding my teeth at night. I never could understand how she could ask me that if I’m asleep. How the heck would I know right! I live alone so there’s no one to tell me and my teeth were not worn down and I have none of the symptoms above. She sent me to another doctor to get tested anyway and it came back negative. The headaches are from something else. Just glad it wasn’t this.

Thanks for your explanation, it really helps.


Mouh July 19, 2011 at 6:07 am

This sounds too painful. I wonder about its causes… Can one prevent it before it happens?

Thanks a lot in advance!


Samantha July 21, 2011 at 4:07 am

Hello Adrienne,

Did you discover the cause of your headaches? Good thing it wasn’t bruxism 🙂

Thank you for the visit and for the comment!


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