Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

These self-care steps may prevent or help treat bruxism:

  • Reduce stress. Listening to music, taking a warm bath or exercising can help you relax and may reduce your risk of developing bruxism.
  • Avoid stimulating substances in the evening. Don't drink caffeinated coffee or caffeinated tea after dinner and avoid alcohol during the evening, as they may worsen bruxism.
  • Practice good sleep habits. Getting a good night's sleep, which may include treatment for sleep problems, may help reduce bruxism.
  • Talk to your sleep partner. If you have a sleeping partner, ask him or her to be aware of any grinding or clicking sounds that you might make while sleeping so you can report this to your dentist or doctor.
  • Schedule regular dental exams. Dental exams are the best way to identify bruxism. Your dentist can spot signs of bruxism in your mouth and jaw during regular visits and exams.

Preparing for an appointment

You may start by seeing your dentist or your primary care doctor. In some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred to a sleep medicine specialist.

What you can do

Prepare for your appointment by making a list of:

  • Relevant medical history, for instance, past bruxism-related problems and information on any medical conditions.
  • Any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for the appointment. If you experience pain, make a note of when it occurs, such as when you wake up or at the end of the day.
  • Key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • All medications, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, herbs or other supplements, you're taking and the dosages. Let your doctor know about anything you've taken to help you sleep.
  • Questions to ask your dentist or doctor.

Basic questions to ask your doctor may include:

  • What's likely causing my symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes?
  • What kinds of tests do I need?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or long term?
  • What's the best treatment?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Be ready to answer questions from your doctor so that you can spend time on areas you want to focus on. Some questions your doctor may ask include:

  • When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to worsen your symptoms?