Bruxism and TMJ Disorders

Clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth? You don’t have to suffer.

Do You Suffer From Jaw or Facial Pain?

Our Calgary dentist provides customized treatment for lasting relief.

Involuntary jaw clenching or teeth grinding is known as bruxism. It can cause mild to severe orofacial facial pain, damage to your teeth, as well as headaches. Occurring in both adults and children, bruxism is a very common problem. Generally, people are prone to teeth grinding when they are sleeping. Jaw clenching, on the other hand, usually occurs during waking hours and is often tension and stress related. Because bruxism can cause permanent damage to your teeth, the earlier you seek treatment for your bruxism, the better.

If you or child suffers from teeth grinding or jaw clenching or if you’re wondering whether you suffer from bruxism, call our Calgary dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson, today. Our Calgary dentist has 28 years’ experience in diagnosing and treating bruxism.   

emergency dentist


Often there are tell-tale signs that you may be suffering from bruxism. In the beginning, these signs and symptoms may be subtle and episodic. Even if you're not certain whether your symptoms point to bruxism, it's best to make an appointment with our Calgary dentist so we can complete a comprehensive oral examination, make a diagnosis and provide a treatment plan.

Bruxism can lead to significant and permanent dental damage if left untreated. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make your appointment with our Calgary dentist as soon as possible.

worn tooth enamel or flat teeth

fractured, chipped or cracked teeth

headaches and/or facial pain, pressure or stiffness in your temple areas

pain or a dull ache in your teeth or jaw joint or muscles

ear pain, or plugged or itchy ears

disruption to your sleep

tooth pain or sensitivity, including to hot or cold drinks

What Causes Bruxism?

Bruxism can be caused by a variety of factors including stress, anxiety, sleep disorders and dental issues. Part of our Calgary dentist’s assessment for bruxism will include determining potential causes or triggers and evaluating your symptoms. Once the causes and symptoms of your bruxism have been identified, Dr. Dirk Thompson will formulate a personalized treatment plan that may include a combination of treatment modalities, as well as a referral to other healthcare professionals, to address both the causes of your bruxism and its associated symptoms.

BRUXISM. What are your triggers?


stress and anxiety

missing, misaligned or crooked teeth

sleep disruption or disorders

tobacco and alcohol use



If you suffer from bruxism, treatment recommendations will depend upon a variety of factors including the potential cause or causes of your bruxism, your symptoms, the severity of your bruxism, your personal treatment preferences and the success of previous bruxism treatment modalities.

Some of our Calgary dentist’s bruxism treatment options include the following:


teeth grinding

A bruxism appliance creates a physical separation between your upper and lower teeth. It also serves to more evenly distribute pressure in your jaw. Generally, this appliance is used while you are sleeping. If, however, you notice that you are grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw during the day, our Calgary dentist may recommend that you wear your bruxism appliance while you are awake as well.


As stress and anxiety can be a major contributor to bruxism, in conjunction with the use of a bruxism appliance, our Calgary dentist may recommend that you try relaxation methods such as exercise, meditation, massage, counseling, deep breathing and other stress management strategies. If lack or disruption of your sleep appears to be an issue, our Calgary dentist may also suggest that you undergo a sleep study.

(Botox® and XEOMIN®)


Neuromodulators such as Botox® or Xeomin®  are very effective in treating bruxism. Neuromodulator treatment by our Calgary dentist consists of injections of a neuromodulator into your masseter muscles which cause the muscles to weaken and relax sufficiently to relieve your bruxism but not enough to affect your ability to eat and speak.


If grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw can be attributed to missing, crooked or misaligned teeth, our Calgary dentist will provide you with a variety of treatment options which could include dental implants, dental crowns, a bridge, a new or replacement denture, porcelain veneers or orthodontic treatment.

For more information about our bruxism treatment options, call our Calgary dentist to schedule your appointment for a complete bruxism assessment and treatment plan.



teeth wearing

Why Treat Bruxism?

If you have been diagnosed with bruxism by our Calgary dentist, it’s imperative that you take timely steps to protect you teeth, gums and jaw from painful and possibly permanent damage. The sooner you address your bruxism concerns, the sooner treatment can begin and further damage prevented.

Bruxism can cause the following dental issues: 

Gum Recession

Bruxism is one of the leading causes of gum disease and recession. Constant pressure on your teeth can damage and cause deep pockets in your gums where bacteria can multiply and cause gum disease and recession.

Tooth Loss

A major cause of tooth loss in bruxism. Bruxism can cause significant wear to your teeth and can also cause your teeth to become loose, placing them at higher risk of decay.

Occlusal Trauma

Bruxism causes abnormal wear patterns on the surfaces of your teeth. This can lead to fractures in your teeth while eating or biting that may require restorative dentistry to remedy or even extraction if not restorable.


Very severe cases of bruxism can lead to arthritis in your temporomandibular (TMJ) joint that can be extraordinarily painful.

Myofacial Pain

Grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw can cause significant pain and dysfunction in your temporomandibular joint and myofascial region as well as debilitating headaches that can affect your ability to work, socialize and enjoy life.

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