Bruxism, temporomandibular joint disorders, and the sleep disorders associated with teeth grinding and jaw clenching have the potential to cause worrisome dental damage. However, that's not the only way that they can negatively impact your smile. In addition, these conditions can also cause painful symptoms which directly affect your quality of life. Thankfully, there are several treatment options, so if you have to take action, pain relief is available. The important question is “ How long does teeth grinding pain last?”.
A Timeline for Teeth Grinding Pain
Unfortunately, there is no exact amount of time that you can expect teeth grinding pain to last. However, there are measures you can take to relieve your pain more quickly. Colgate offers a blunt assessment of the timeline for teeth grinding pain: "It depends on the cause and severity of your specific case."
There is no exact amount of time that you can expect teeth grinding pain to last. In fact, the evidence-based scientific literature focuses more on all the different kinds of pain… and the different ways of treating the symptoms, because the time that pain lasts depends on several patient-dependent and physiological factors.Dr. Fadi Swaida DDS
To understand the question “How long does teeth grinding pain last?” and to relieve your pain as quickly as possible, first identify the root cause of your bruxism. Although researchers struggle to identify the exact causes of bruxism, there are many things that are thought to be risk factors:
- Stress: Stress and anxiety are often associated with bruxism and grinding. Some theorize that bruxism may begin as a coping method for some sufferers.
- Genetic Factors: Bruxism and TMJ or TMD issues can run in families. This suggests that there may be a genetic factor. While genes seem to play a role in many dental-related issues, environmental factors are more likely to cause teeth grinding.
- Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders can often occur together with teeth grinding. In fact, sleep bruxism is considered a sleep-related movement disorder. Disrupted sleeping patterns have a negative affect on your overall dental health.
- Medications: Some medications, including antidepressants and some recreational drugs can cause teeth grinding as a side effect. These medications cause bruxism because they affect dopamine levels and muscle activity.
Of course, the severity of teeth grinding will vary based on the individual. Bruxers who have endured lasting tooth damage will most likely have a different timeline for pain relief as compared to a new bruxer, especially if invasive dental treatment is necessary. For this reason, it is helpful to identify that you grind or clench your teeth as early as possible and to seek treatment right away. Visit your dentist regularly so they can examine your teeth for wear and signs of other damage.
The Types of Teeth Grinding Pain
Pain duration from teeth grinding will vary based on the kind of painful symptoms you are experiencing. When tooth grinding does cause physical distress, it can take many forms. According to Medline Plus, people who grind or clench often experience the following symptoms of bruxism:
- Tooth Pain: When you grind your teeth and clench your jaw repeatedly, the wear and tear can lead to tooth sensitivity, cracked and damaged teeth, tooth loss, toothache, and poor overall oral health. A dentist can identify if your teeth have worn tooth enamel.
- Jaw Pain: The intense pressure of grinding and clenching can damage the jaw joint, triggering TMD issues, jaw pain, and jaw muscle soreness.
- Earaches: The jaw joints are very close to the ear canal. Due to that proximity, some people experience pain in their ears when they brux as well.
- Facial Pain: The tension generated by grinding can make facial muscles sore. In some cases, this muscle tension extends into the neck and shoulders. The overuse of these muscles can even cause bruxism face change over time.
- Headaches: Bruxism is known to set off both tension headaches and migraines. Usually, these occur in the mornings right when you wake up.
Treating Teeth Grinding Pain
If you're experiencing pain as a symptom of teeth grinding, then finding the right treatment can offer welcome relief. The exact timeline will vary depending on your personal situation and the treatment or treatments that you use, but many people begin feeling better within a few weeks of consistent treatment. Long-term issues like TMJ disorders may require longer recovery periods, so it's best to seek treatment as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are several options for treating teeth grinding pain.
They go by many names, including night guards, mouthguards, oral splints, and dental appliances. Whichever term you choose, the important thing to know is that these devices can be highly effective in treating bruxism and TMJ disorders. This form of treatment is often recommended by experts, as they're designed to fit over the teeth, keeping the jaw in a more relaxed position and forming a protective barrier between your upper and lower teeth. The decision to stop using a night guard should be made with caution. As Medline Plus explains, "some people find that the symptoms go away as long as they use the splint, but pain returns when they stop." It is recommended that you allow yourself a few weeks to adjust to using the night guard every night. Some people feel relief right away, while some feel relief within a few weeks.
Stress Management and Relaxation Techniques
Stress and anxiety are strongly associated with bruxism. As Mayo Clinic points out, learning to manage your stress may help you manage your bruxism. Consider seeing a licensed counselor or therapist. If you don't already, incorporate exercise into your lifestyle. When your jaw muscles are stiff or tender, try a gentle self-massage. Applying moist heat to these muscles may also be helpful. Some bruxism sufferers have found success using meditation and yoga to reduce their stress, and consequently, their teeth grinding.
Botox injections freeze the jaw muscles responsible for the problematic clenching for three to six months, according to NewMouth. This temporary break from bruxing gives your body a chance to heal, but repeated treatments may be needed for long-term relief. In general, botox injections take 3 to 5 days to take effect.
Vitamins and Supplements
Nutrition provides the body with the building blocks that it needs to function smoothly, so any vitamin deficiency can create problems. Studies have found a strong connection between bruxism and vitamin deficiencies in nutrients such as magnesium and bruxsim (Lehvilä 1974). This is likely because supplements such as magnesium or calcium play a role in muscle activity and bone strength. Speak with your doctor or dentist if you feel vitamin deficiency may be related to your bruxism.
Teeth Grinding Pain
There's no denying that teeth grinding and related medical conditions can harm your oral health. For some people, it can also cause discomfort, but the amount and duration of that pain depends on the individual and their situation. To find out an answer to “How long does teeth grinding pain last? To be able to alleviate pain quickly, it is best to catch the problem early before further damage is done, identify what caused your bruxism, and follow a treatment plan consistently. If teeth grinding is causing you pain, there are a number of effective treatments that can provide relief. Don't wait! Acting promptly after the onset of your issue is likely to help you find relief from your pain sooner.
Is a night guard part of your plan for ending your teeth grinding pain? Check out the selection at Pro Teeth Guard. It's a great chance to get a custom-fit mouthguard at an affordable price. We make our night guards in a professional dental lab, and every night guard is guaranteed to fit comfortably with our 110% money-back guarantee.
- Colgate Writing Staff. (n.d.). How to Treat and Prevent Pain from Grinding Teeth. Colgate. https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/bruxism/grinding-teeth-can-lead-to-facial-pain
- Houlis, A. M. (2021). Can botox treatment cure bruxism? NewMouth. https://www.newmouth.com/blog/botox-bruxism/
- Kapner, M. (2020). Bruxism. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001413.htm
- Lehvilä P. (1974). Bruxism and magnesium. Literature review and case reports. Proceedings of the Finnish Dental Society. Suomen Hammaslaakariseuran toimituksia, 70(6), 217–224. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/4457918/
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2017). Bruxism (teeth grinding). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bruxism/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20356100