Teeth Grinding and Orthodontic Health

According to the Canadian Sleep Society, approximately 8 percent of adults and 13 percent of children in Canada experience teeth grinding or clenching – most often in their sleep.

Teeth grinding or clenching (often called bruxism) can be caused by a number of things:

  • Anxiety;
  • Stress;
  • Disrupted Sleep;
  • Misaligned teeth; and/or

Most people who clench or grind their teeth typically do not realize they are doing so.

Some signs of bruxism may include:

  • Headaches;
  • Earaches;
  • Tooth Sensitivity;
  • Tooth or Jaw Pain;
  • A third party hearing the noise of grinding (especially at night).

When you clench or grind your teeth, a huge amount of pressure is exerted on your teeth and jaw. Continual clenching or grinding can lead to cracked, chipped, broken, or loose teeth and potential for damage to the Temporomandibular joint.

Diagnosing Clenching or Grinding

If you see a dentist regularly, they will monitor your mouth for signs of irregular wear and tear on the surfaces of the teeth. It is important to always let your dentist know if you are experiencing any unusual pain or sensitivity in your teeth, head, or neck area – this can help to diagnose bruxism early and limit damage.

Preventing Bruxism

If you become aware of clenching your teeth, try to make an effort to relax the jaw and stop the clenching. Stress reducing activities such as exercise may be beneficial if the bruxism is being caused by external stress. Depending on the reason for your clenching and grinding, your dentist may recommend corrective treatments for your mouth, or may want you to wear a custom fit mouth guard at night to reduce the pressure on your teeth.

Dr Wang

Dr. Wang, DDS, MSc, FRCD(C)


Orthodontic specialist, founder of PacificWest Dental Group. Helping people get the perfect smile since 1994!

Dr Kevin

Dr. Kevin Lee, DMD, MSc, FRCD(C)


Specialist in Orthodontics, UBC alumni. Love helping patients get a beautiful smile. Part-time clinical instructor at UBC. 

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