Dr. James S. Kim, DDS. SC

What is bruxism?

In plain speech, bruxism is a disorder in which a person unconsciously and compulsively grinds or clenches their teeth.

Causes of bruxism vary but can include stress, certain sleep disorders, or dental problems like crooked or missing teeth.

If bruxism goes untreated, the result could be painful headaches and migraines, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ/TMD), and tooth damage.

Once we understand the causes of your bruxism, we can recommend an appropriate plan of action. If stress is contributing to your bruxism, it might be wise to schedule an appointment with a mental health professional to find out if you can reduce the amount of stress in your life or the way you react to it. If a sleep disorder is the culprit, scheduling an appointment for a sleep study may help. If a dental problem is the likely cause, we can explore orthodontics or tooth restoration options to bring your teeth into proper alignment.

In the meantime, we can prevent pain and further damage to your teeth with an occlusal guard (often known as a “nightguard”). The nightguard is worn while you sleep when most tooth grinding happens. Depending on your needs, it can keep your teeth from coming into contact with each other or absorb the force from the grinding.  

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