Differences Between Day and Night Time Bruxism

Differences Between Day and Night Time Bruxism

Bruxism refers to the grinding or clenching of teeth and can occur during both daytime and nighttime. While both forms share similarities, they also exhibit distinct characteristics that differentiate them from each other.

Understanding the types of bruxism, such as daytime and nighttime bruxism, is essential for accurate diagnosis, effective management, and tailored treatment approaches. In this detailed article, we will explore the contrasting features of daytime and nighttime bruxism, including their causes, symptoms, consequences, and potential treatment options.

Daytime Bruxism: Causes, Symptoms, and Impact

Bruxism and its affects

Daytime bruxism, also known as awake bruxism, refers to teeth grinding or clenching that occurs while an individual is awake. Here are the key aspects of daytime bruxism:


Stress and Anxiety

Daytime bruxism is often associated with heightened stress levels and anxiety. Individuals experiencing high levels of daily stress or emotional tension may unknowingly clench their teeth as a response to the stressors.


  • Teeth Clenching: Daytime bruxism is characterized by excessive clenching of the jaw, which may be accompanied by the sensation of tightness or soreness in the jaw muscles.
  • Facial Pain and Headaches: Chronic jaw muscle tension can lead to facial pain, headaches, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) discomfort.
  • Tooth Sensitivity: Persistent teeth clenching can cause tooth sensitivity and enamel wear, leading to increased dental problems.


  • Dental Damage: Daytime bruxism can result in tooth wear, chipped or cracked teeth, and dental restorations such as fillings or crowns becoming compromised.
  • Jaw Discomfort: Excessive jaw clenching during the day can lead to TMJ dysfunction, facial muscle pain, and limited jaw movement.
  • Jaw Muscle Fatigue and Tension: Chronic clenching of the jaw muscles during the day can result in muscle fatigue and tension. This can cause discomfort and stiffness in the jaw, face, and neck muscles. The continuous strain on these muscles can contribute to the development of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, leading to jaw pain, clicking or popping sounds, and limited jaw movement.
  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction: Daytime bruxism places excessive pressure on the TMJ, the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. Over time, this constant strain can disrupt the proper functioning of the joint, causing pain, inflammation, and difficulty in opening or closing the mouth.

Nighttime Bruxism: Causes, Symptoms, and Impact

Bruxism impact


Nighttime bruxism, also known as sleep bruxism, occurs during sleep and is characterized by rhythmic or forceful grinding of the teeth. Here are the key aspects of nighttime bruxism:


Sleep Disorders

Nighttime bruxism is commonly associated with sleep-related disorders such as sleep apnea, snoring, and disrupted sleep patterns.

These conditions can contribute to the development or exacerbation of bruxism during sleep.


  • Teeth Grinding: The primary symptom of nighttime bruxism is the audible grinding or clenching of teeth during sleep.
  • Jaw Pain and Fatigue: Individuals with nighttime bruxism often experience jaw pain, muscle stiffness, and fatigue upon waking.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Bruxism episodes can disrupt sleep, leading to restless nights, frequent awakenings, and daytime sleepiness.


  • Dental Damage: Prolonged and untreated nighttime bruxism can result in severe dental complications, including enamel wear, tooth fractures, and loosening of teeth.
  • TMJ Disorders: Nighttime bruxism can contribute to TMJ disorders, causing jaw pain, joint clicking or popping, and limited mouth opening.
  • Sleep Disruptions: The grinding sounds associated with nighttime bruxism can disturb the sleep of bed partners, leading to relationship difficulties and shared sleep disturbances.
  • Increased Tooth Sensitivity: The excessive wear on the tooth enamel caused by nighttime bruxism can lead to heightened tooth sensitivity. Individuals may experience discomfort or pain when consuming hot or cold foods and beverages or when brushing their teeth.

Treatment Approaches for the Types of Bruxism 

Effective management of bruxism involves addressing the underlying causes and minimizing the associated symptoms. Here are potential treatment approaches for daytime and nighttime bruxism:

1. Behavioral Strategies

Stress management techniques, relaxation exercises, and jaw muscle relaxation exercises can be helpful in managing both forms of bruxism.

2. Dental Splints and Mouthguards

Dentists may recommend the use of custom-fitted dental splints or teeth grinding guard online to protect the teeth and jaw joints from the effects of grinding or clenching.

These devices create a barrier between the upper and lower teeth, reducing the impact of the grinding forces and minimizing tooth wear.

3. Medications

In some cases, medications such as muscle relaxants or anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed to alleviate muscle tension and anxiety associated with bruxism.

However, the use of medications is typically considered a short-term solution and should be carefully evaluated by a healthcare professional.

4. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT techniques, administered by a trained therapist, can help individuals identify and modify the behaviors and thought patterns that contribute to bruxism.

CBT can assist in managing stress and anxiety and addressing maladaptive coping mechanisms.

5. Sleep Hygiene and Sleep Disorder Management

For individuals with nighttime bruxism, addressing underlying sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or insomnia, can be crucial.

Treatment options for sleep disorders may include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy for sleep apnea, sleep positioning devices, or sleep hygiene practices to improve sleep quality.

6. Lifestyle Changes

Making lifestyle changes can have a positive impact on bruxism. These include reducing caffeine intake, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, practicing stress reduction techniques, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and engaging in relaxation exercises.

7. Dental Restorations

In cases where dental damage has occurred due to bruxism, dental restorations such as crowns, veneers, or fillings may be necessary to repair and protect the teeth.


Daytime and nighttime bruxism may share the common characteristic of teeth grinding or clenching, but they exhibit differences in their causes, symptoms, and impacts. Identifying these distinctions is crucial for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

By combining strategies such as stress management techniques, dental splints, behavior modification, and addressing underlying sleep disorders, individuals can manage and alleviate the symptoms associated with the types of bruxism.

Consulting with a dental professional and, if needed, a sleep specialist or therapist can provide valuable guidance in developing a personalized treatment plan. Remember, early intervention and a comprehensive approach are key to managing bruxism effectively and maintaining optimal oral health.

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