What is grinding and clenching?

Grinding and clenching the teeth and jaw, medically termed “bruxism,” is a condition where a person unconsciously grinds or clenches their teeth, often during sleep. This habit can exert excessive pressure on the teeth and jaw, leading to several symptoms and the risk of complications.


How we can help: The San Francisco Center for TMJ and Sleep Apnea

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of grinding and clenching, don’t wait to seek professional help. Our dedicated team at The San Francisco Center for TMJ and Sleep Apnea specializes in diagnosing and treating bruxism to alleviate discomfort and prevent further complications. Contact us today to schedule a consultation for grinding & clenching treatment in San Francisco.

How bruxism can affect your jaw and teeth

Bruxism, or grinding and clenching of teeth, can significantly impact the jaw and teeth. This condition can lead to various oral health issues and discomfort:

Tooth wear

The constant grinding action can wear down the enamel on your teeth, leading to tooth sensitivity, increased risk of cavities, and changes in your bite.

Jaw pain

The excessive forces generated during grinding and clenching can strain the muscles and joints of your jaw, leading to jaw pain, stiffness, and discomfort.

TMJ disorders

Bruxism is a known contributing factor to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. The stress placed on the jaw joint can lead to pain, clicking or popping sounds, and limited jaw movement.

Headaches and migraines

The strain from bruxism can radiate to the head and neck, triggering tension headaches or migraines.

Gum recession

The pressure from clenching can cause your gums to recede, exposing the tooth roots and contributing to gum disease.

Tooth fractures

The continuous grinding weakens teeth and leads to fractures or cracks in the teeth.

Disrupted sleep

Bruxism often occurs during sleep and can disrupt your sleep patterns, leading to fatigue and reduced overall well-being.

Facial pain

The muscle tension from clenching and grinding can cause pain in the face, neck, and shoulders.

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TMJ treatments and beyond

Our clinic offers a range of evidence-based treatments for grinding and clenching, including orthotic appliance therapy, physical therapy, and more. Our goal is to alleviate your symptoms and provide you with long-term solutions that promote healthy jaw function.

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Treatments for Grinding and Clenching

We offer a range of effective grinding & clenching treatments in San Francisco. Our comprehensive approach aims to alleviate discomfort, protect oral health, and improve overall well-being. Here are some of the treatment options we provide:

Custom night guards

We create custom-fitted nightguards, also known as occlusal splints or mouthguards, designed to provide a protective barrier between your upper and lower teeth. These appliances prevent the surfaces of your teeth from grinding against each other and absorb the forces exerted during clenching.

Lifestyle modifications

Our team will work with you to identify and address any contributing factors to bruxism, such as stress, anxiety, or particular habits. We provide guidance and support for stress reduction techniques and lifestyle changes to help manage bruxism.

Bite correction

An improper bite can contribute to bruxism. We offer treatments to correct misaligned bites, which can alleviate the excessive forces on your teeth and jaw joint. We can do this through orthodontics or bite correction using crowns and veneers.

Muscle relaxation

Botox for grinding and clenching involves injecting botulinum toxin into the muscles responsible for jaw movement. This helps relax these muscles, reducing their ability to contract forcefully and alleviating symptoms associated with teeth grinding and jaw clenching.

Stress management

Managing stress and anxiety through relaxation techniques, counseling, and mindfulness practices can significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of bruxism episodes.

Dental restorations

In cases where tooth wear and damage have occurred due to bruxism, we may recommend dental restorations like crowns or veneers to restore the integrity of your teeth.


In some situations, medications may be prescribed to manage pain, relax muscles, or reduce anxiety, all of which can contribute to bruxism.

Why choose us?

At the San Francisco Center for TMJ and Sleep Apnea, we stand out for our comprehensive and patient-centered approach to grinding and clenching treatment in San Francisco. With our advanced diagnostic tools and personalized treatment plans, we address the root causes of bruxism, offering relief and improved quality of life.

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Grinding and Clenching FAQ

Can grinding and clenching your teeth and jaw cause permanent damage?

Can stress contribute to grinding and clenching?

How is bruxism diagnosed?

Can children experience bruxism?

Can CT scans help with grinding and clenching?

Can grinding and clenching your teeth and jaw cause permanent damage?

Untreated bruxism can lead to permanent tooth damage, including worn enamel, tooth sensitivity, and even fractures.

Can stress contribute to grinding and clenching?

Stress and anxiety are common triggers for bruxism. Learning stress management techniques may help reduce grinding and clenching. A common side effect of the medications used to treat stress and anxiety is more clenching and grinding. It can be a vicious cycle, come see us for a consultation before starting a new medication to help with pain, clenching and grinding. Your clenching and grinding could cause you pain, which causes depression and anxiety. We always seek to treat the underlying cause of your issue. Catching things early and correctly is paramount in a healthy outcome.

How is bruxism diagnosed?

A thorough dental examination, evaluation of symptoms, and special devices can help us diagnose bruxism.

Can children experience bruxism?

Yes, children can also grind their teeth, often due to temporary factors like teething.

Can CT scans help with grinding and clenching?

CT scans are instrumental in revealing the effects of grinding and clenching on the orofacial region. These scans provide detailed insights into joint integrity, alignment, and signs of degeneration, guiding clinicians in formulating tailored treatment plans. It's important to acknowledge that while CT scans offer valuable insights, a comprehensive diagnostic approach may involve additional assessments to ensure a thorough understanding of the patient's unique situation. This approach allows for developing effective strategies to manage grinding and clenching.

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