307 Grafton St #203, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

Bruxism Frequently Asked Questions

Bruxism may not be a familiar word to the average patient, but it’s a familiar ailment: teeth grinding. Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is characterized by unconscious grinding or clenching of the teeth. Patients who suffer from bruxism may not realize they are grinding their teeth at all until they notice jaw soreness, a misaligned bite, or visible wear on the chewing surfaces of their teeth. Teeth grinding can also be the culprit behind chronic headaches and earaches. If you suffer from any of those symptoms, you may be grinding your teeth.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is clenching or grinding of the teeth, often done unconsciously. Bruxism can occur both during the day and at night as you sleep.

What Causes Bruxism?

A definitive cause of bruxism has not been determined, but doctors believe several factors can contribute to the development of bruxism, including stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, and malocclusion. 

How Do I Know If I Have Bruxism?

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should schedule a dental check-up to be evaluated for bruxism:

  • Jaw soreness
  • Tight jaw muscles
  • Your bite feels abnormal or uncomfortable
  • Chronic headache
  • Earaches
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Worn chewing surfaces

What’s the Difference Between Bruxism and TMJ?

Some people mistakenly use the term TMJ to reference a condition, but really TMJ is just the abbreviation for a joint. TMJ, also known as the temporomandibular joint, is your jaw joint. You have two TMJs that connect your jaw to the rest of your skull, and they sit opposite each other on the sides of your face. Bruxism can stress your TMJs and could put you at risk for temporomandibular disorder, or TMD.

What is the Bruxism Treatment?

A custom-fitted oral appliance can help treat your bruxism. You can wear this soft appliance in your mouth as you sleep. The appliance adds a layer that separates the surfaces of your teeth so you’re unable to unknowingly grind them. This alleviates tension in the jaw and joints as well.


At Modern Dentistry, Todd A. Pizzi, DDS, and Luciana Messina, DDS, are dedicated to providing high-quality cosmetic, restorative, and preventive dentistry services to patients and families in Shrewsbury, Worcester, North and South Grafton, Westborough, Southborough, Northborough, Boylston, Hopkinton, Millbury, and all surrounding communities. To schedule your next appointment, contact our office by calling (508) 842-6356 today.