Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?

burdsbruxismDid you know that millions of Americans may suffer from a oral health issue known as bruxism. The disorder occurs when patients frequently grind their teeth or clench their jaws. Why do we grind our teeth? What can we do to address the issue? You may be surprised to learn that comfortable and minimally invasive treatment options are available.

What Causes Bruxism?

Teeth grinding can be caused by a number of different factors, including:

  • Trauma to the face or jaw
  • Tooth loss
  • Malocclusion
  • Stress
  • TMJ disorder

The treatment process begins with an exam. Our goal is to assess the cause of your bruxism. From there, we can decide on the best treatment options. For example, if misalignment is leading to grinding episodes, then you may require orthodontic treatment. If tooth loss is the culprit, then you may need to discuss tooth replacement options, such as dental bridge or dental implants.

How Do I Know If I Need Treatment?

Most people don’t grind their teeth during day, but at night while sleeping. If a partner isn’t there to identify the tell tale noise, then you may not know you have a problem. Fortunately, there are symptoms that can be noticed during the day, such as:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Earaches and/or tinnitus
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Toothaches and/or sensitive teeth

If you think one or possibly more of these symptoms sound familiar, then please talk to your dentist. A diagnosis can be performed to see if you require treatment.

What Does Treatment Involve?

In most cases treatment involves a simple oral appliance. Work at night, the device looks a lot like a nightguard. However, the device prevents the upper and lower teeth from touching, preventing further damage.


With a dedication to helping patients achieve the beautiful, healthy smiles they deserve, Dr. Burds and his team at Gateway Dental Group focus the care they provide on enhancing every aspect of your dental health. To schedule an appointment, call our office today at (515) 244-9565. Located in Des Moines, IA, we proudly welcome patients from the Des Moines metro area and surrounding communities.