3 Ways to Cope with Bruxism

Tmj Dentist McLean, VA

The unconscious grinding, clenching or gnashing of teeth, or bruxism, is a common neurological or psychological condition. While most mild cases will often disappear over time, more severe instances may require medical intervention. However, as this is an unconscious or subconscious behavior, many people do not realize they have an issue until experiencing adverse side effects, such as headaches, jaw pain or damaged teeth. For patients who are diagnosed or are aware of such a condition, it can be hard to stop the behavior, especially when it occurs during sleep. Therefore, it is necessary to develop coping strategies to reduce further damage to the teeth and other physiological symptoms.

Coping with the condition

Many patients find it challenging to deal with a condition that is deemed neurological or psychological. To define bruxism as a habitual behavior without conscious control is often confusing to those who suffer from it. However, it can help to understand that the cause of teeth clenching is often related to stress or anxiety, which means there are potential coping mechanisms that patients can use to reduce and possibly eliminate the occurrence of the behavior. There are three coping strategies that have proven to be effective: psychotherapy, appliance therapy and health management.

1. Psychotherapy

While not an effective treatment for every form of this condition, some forms of teeth grinding are related to stress, anxiety and other social and psychological issues. Talk therapy, biofeedback and habit modification can all be effective intervention options in these cases. However, while learning relaxation techniques can help reduce the symptoms of this condition, other therapies may need to be combined to create an effective deterrent to clenching and grinding behaviors during sleep.

2. Appliance therapy

Another standard treatment for teeth grinding, especially during sleep, is the use of appliances. For example, a mouth guard may be prescribed to reduce the risk of damage to the teeth and to alleviate pressure from persistent clenching that can lead to headaches. These nighttime appliances can be purchased from a store or made custom. Most over-the-counter guards are pliable and moldable to create a snug fit. Custom guards may take longer to make but are sure to fit more securely during sleep.

3. Health management

Aside from therapy and appliances, a dentist may prescribe medication to alleviate symptoms or suggest behavioral adjustments. For example, muscle relaxants or medicines for stress and anxiety may be prescribed. Also, if a patient suffers from teeth clenching during sleep, the dentist may suggest making changes to bedtime routines, such as eliminating tech from the sleep environment or using relaxation techniques before sleep.


Bruxism is a common condition that is often involuntary or unconscious. Patients may require medications or therapy to help reduce the symptoms of the condition, and appliances, such as mouth guards, can be used to prevent damage to the teeth. Sufferers of this condition should contact their dentist as soon as possible to receive advice and necessary medical intervention.

Request an appointment here: https://www.oaktreefamilydental.com or call Oak Tree Dental at (703) 763-5239 for an appointment in our McLean office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Night Guards in McLean, VA.

Recent Posts

Will Bruxism Go Away On Its Own?

Bruxism, or teeth grinding in layman’s terms, is a frequent dental problem. Most people grind their teeth sometimes, whether out of stress, agitation or absent-mindedness, but some people experience chronic teeth grinding that most often occurs throughout the night. This can present a problem since the sleeper usually does not know that they are grinding…

Grinding Teeth At Night Can Cause Dental Issues

Night guards can help prevent teeth grinding and protect the enamel from permanent damage.Night guards are a form of retainer that prevents your teeth from grinding while you sleep. We will customize the night guard to fit your teeth for a more comfortable experience and effective treatment.Night GuardsAt Oak Tree Dental in McLean, we work…

The Affordable Treatment For Teeth Grinding

For anyone who grinds his or her teeth at night, there are possible options for at-home treatment. Grinding teeth can wear down the tooth enamel and cause jaw pain. Since the teeth grinding occurs at night, it can be difficult for the individual to prevent it without extra assistance. We can determine your specific needs…

Protect Your Teeth With A Mouth Guard

Invest in a mouth guard for better protection during sports and other events. For more information, give us a call.Mouth guards can be customized to fit one's teeth and protect them from damage during sports. A store-bought mouth guard is not nearly as strong or comfortable as a professional one that we customize.Mouth GuardsAt Oak…

Recent Posts

Preventing Bacteria Buildup On Dentures

Preventing Bacteria Buildup On Dentures

In some form, dentures have been around for centuries. This type of artificial teeth has helped countless people feel good about their appearance and eat most foods again.If you have missing teeth or no teeth at all, talk to your dentist about this option. You can learn what this process entails and how it can…

Can Others Tell If You Have Dentures?

Can Others Tell If You Have Dentures?

If you have missing teeth, dentures can enhance your smile and boost your self-esteem. Dentists can provide comfortable dentures that may give you a stable bite and a natural look.But after getting dentures, you have to take proper care of them to keep them white and healthy. Read on to find out more about the…