General Question

noodle_poodle's avatar

Bruxism. How do I stop clenching my teeth?

Asked by noodle_poodle (1614points) October 2nd, 2011

I have this problem with clenching my teeth. It seems to be pretty involuntary and I often wake up with an awful headache because I do it while I am asleep. I try really hard not to (obviously) and I chew gum whenever possible to prevent it during the day but its getting out of hand and I am plagued by headaches because of it. Has anyone else found ways to deal with it?

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16 Answers

tranquilsea's avatar

Relaxation techniques before bed can help. But you should really go see a dentist who can outfit you with a retainer that will prevent damage to your teeth and jaw. Just make sure they put the retainer on your lower teeth and not the upper ones as the upper retainers are a pain in the backside.

Male's avatar

There are medical solutions to this problem, so don’t be too worried. Your case sounds pretty serious though, since you wake up with headaches. Schedule an appointment with your doctor, there are many ways to rectify this problem. One treatment I know of is where they can fit a cap over your molars that prevent your top and bottom rows of teeth from ever making strong contact, but close enough to let you chew. You wear this until you get out of the habit. It may sound scary, but it teaches you to break the habit or at least protects your teeth from damage.

janbb's avatar

I wear a mouth guard at night to prevent TMJ. It is on my upper teeth but it has a soft molded inside and doesn’t hurt at all. After a while, you get so you can’t fall asleep without it. During the day, I sometimes stick my tongue a little way between my teeth to help.

noodle_poodle's avatar

ah thanks all.I will look into those things. I have tried relaxation techniques before and they work while I am doing them but then as soon as my mind has do something else (for instance be at work) I start doing it again. Its deeply frustrating.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

With a jelly mouth guard of course!

JonnyCeltics's avatar

Stopping it is more difficult an issue to tackle than protecting your teeth, et al. I wear a custom mouth guard on my upper teeth every night to protect teeth but it doesn’t always help with the headaches. In terms of getting a sound sleep without the grinding, I’d work on relaxing before bedtime, seeing someone to talk about issues, or just switching it up – your pre-bed routine that is.

Les's avatar

Oh man, I feel your pain. I’ve been wearing a night guard for probably about 5 years now. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Take the advice above: talk to your dentist about the problem. I tend to grind my teeth, too, and I chipped a tooth once. Hope you can figure something out!

lillycoyote's avatar

I have the same problem and as others have said you really can’t stop it. You need to talk to your dentist about it and get fitted for a mouth guard. It’s a pretty serious problem and can eventually cause a lot of damage to your teeth and tooth loss down the road.

octopussy's avatar

My dentist wanted to make me one for $900 so i haven’t done anything about it. I don’t know if the ones from the chemist are any good, grinding teeth in our sleep seems to be fairly common.

lillycoyote's avatar

@octopussy $900? Wow! Maybe you should find a new dentist. Mine was about $350.

octopussy's avatar

@lillycoyote I think you might be right, the thing is you go to dentists and they take xrays which aren’t cheap so you tend to stay with the same dentist because they have your history.

JonnyCeltics's avatar

i paid near 500…but it was wellllllll worth it.

tranquilsea's avatar

I also paid about $450 and it was worth it.

lillycoyote's avatar

@octopussy My mouth guard sounds like it was kind of on the low end, but still, the highest anyone has mentioned is @JonnyCeltics and that was $500, a lot, but not $900, that’s seems excessive. And your charts, history and x-rays can easily be transferred over to another dentist. I love my dentist and have been with him for a long time but it is not difficult to move switch to another dentist, at least not in terms of your records.

lonelydragon's avatar

Seconding the mouthguard. But there’s no reason you have to pay $900 for it. You can get one for $20 at Wal-Mart and most drugstores. Also, your gum-chewing habit is a good one. Keep it up.

octopussy's avatar

@lillycoyote It does seem very excessive and I will seek out another dentist, I live in Australia where everything is more expensive than the US but I still should shop around for a better deal. Thanks for your suggestion :)

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