Teeth grinding can lead to a variety of side effects, including:

  • headaches
  • pain in the jaw, face, and ears
  • wearing down and flattening of teeth
  • loose or painful teeth
  • cracked, damaged, or fractured teeth
  • breakage of fillings and crowns

In extreme cases, problems chewing, speaking, and swallowing may also occur. You may not realize you grind your teeth until symptoms appear.

The risk of complications from teeth grinding may increase if you have untreated bruxism for an extended period of time. Long-term complications may include:

  • chronic ear and headache pain
  • facial muscle enlargement
  • damage to teeth that requires dental procedures, such as dental bonding, filling, crowns, or bridges
  • temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ)

When to seek help

If you know you grind your teeth, or if you suspect teeth grinding may be to blame for pain or other symptoms, see a dentist. They can examine your teeth for wear to determine if you grind them. They can also look at your bite and alignment.

Depending on the suspected causes, your dentist may recommend seeing your doctor for the treatment of an underlying condition.