How to Stop and Treat Jaw Clenching and Teeth Grinding

How to Stop and Treat Jaw Clenching and Teeth Grinding

Clenching and grinding of teeth, also known as Bruxism, is a widespread habit affecting many people globally. Often, individuals may be unaware of this behavior until they experience a sore jaw and teeth.

Dr. Tareq Shabani, a highly esteemed cosmetic dentist in the UAE with over 14 years of experience. In this blog, he takes us through a breakdown of the habit of clenching of jaw and grinding of teeth, also known as Bruxism, how it’s normally related to the way one closes their mouth and occlusion (alignment of teeth and bite), and what treatment options are accessible to improve the condition.

The Reason behind Clenching and Grinding:

The underlying reasons for clenching and grinding can vary, leading to different levels of severity. According to Dr. Shabani, the common symptoms include soreness of muscles and joints, which can escalate to severe pain affecting the back, head, neck, and ears. When the patient approach their dentist for their Bruxism, the dentist takes into consideration the following four things to diagnose the condition: the muscles, temporomandibular joint, teeth, and gums. In a balanced scenario, there is a space of 1mm to 2mm between upper and lower teeth, but clenching and grinding indicate the absence of this space, causing tension in the muscles closing the jaw.

This habit or condition can also occur in patients with malocclusion and misaligned teeth, where the joint and muscles struggle to adapt to the teeth’s position, leading to the onset of clenching and grinding. In other instances, it may happen when gums are inflamed or receded, and at times, there may be no specific reason for its occurrence.

What Happens If You Don’t Seek Treatment?

If you or someone you observe consistently engages in teeth grinding and clenching, it is advisable to consult with a dentist to confirm or rule out its occurrence. Neglecting to seek proper treatment for these habits can lead to potential harm to the temporomandibular joint, muscles, and teeth, leading to chronic pain and discomfort. Furthermore, the continuous grinding of your teeth can lead to enamel breakage, causing your teeth to become shorter and resulting in a reduced vertical dimension. A noticeable example of this is the smaller lower face often observed in older individuals, as teeth wear down with age. Therefore, engaging in teeth grinding regularly, even at a young age like 25, can contribute to a diminished lower face over time.

Treatment Options for Clenching and Grinding:

Treatment options for clenching and grinding depend on the underlying causes. Here are some of the common but effect

  • Crowns and Veneers: In cases of severe teeth clenching and grinding, a more extensive solution is advised. Traditionally, this involves the use of crowns and veneers. When the teeth and enamel have experienced significant wear & tear, it leads to a loss of the Vertical Dimension of Occlusion (the space between upper and lower teeth), full mouth rehabilitation becomes necessary. This process aims to restore the teeth to their original positions before the onset of clenching and grinding. Achieving the desired outcome involves additive dentistry, where onlays or crowns are applied to the posterior teeth, and veneers or crowns are used for the anterior teeth.
  • Teeth Replacement: If teeth clenching or grinding is caused by inflamed gums or a missing tooth, addressing the underlying issue by replacing the tooth is likely to stop the habit. Another option is Botox, specifically Botulinum Toxin type A, which temporarily alleviates clenching and grinding by paralyzing the relevant muscles. However, it’s important to note that this treatment is short-lived, and the clenching, grinding, and associated pain are likely to return within three months or less, as the underlying cause remains untreated.
  • Occlusal Guard: In the early stages of the condition, the optimal treatment involves the use of an Occlusal guard, offering a long-term solution. Depending on the specific case, this guard is worn at night to safeguard against clenching and grinding. Simultaneously, it creates approximately a 2mm space between your upper and lower teeth, gradually programming your muscles and jaw into their correct positions. Occlusal guards come in three types: soft, medium soft, and hard. Your dental specialist will determine the most suitable type for you based on your condition.


In conclusion, the management of teeth clenching and grinding necessitates a multifaceted approach. Various modern techniques like occlusal guards can provide a long-term solution through early intervention by discouraging these behaviors and promoting correct muscle and jaw positioning. To prevent the recurrence of clenching and grinding, it is critical to identify and treat the underlying causes, which may include missing teeth or inflamed gums. However, seeking the expertise of a dental specialist is crucial in order to receive personalized guidance and treatment recommendations that encompass preventive measures, therapeutic devices, and restorative procedures that are specifically designed to address your unique needs.

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