General Question

ShaChris23's avatar

What condition is this? Biting teeth for a few minutes as falling asleep?

Asked by ShaChris23 (318points) August 21st, 2013

I was told that, every night without fail, I’d bite my teeth (“chop chop chop chop”—like chewing) in the first few minutes of being unconscious. The rest of the night I’d sleep peacefully.

What condition could this be? Is it a stress-related condition? Or jaw, or dental? Or just a simple falling-asleep mechanism, that some people have it and some people don’t?

I looked up “bruxism” and found this definition: “excessive jaw clenching and teeth grinding throughout the night.” Mine most likely is not bruxism.

Thanks for any help!

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9 Answers

BosM's avatar

Check out WebMD
“Occasional teeth grinding, medically called bruxism, does not usually cause harm, but when teeth grinding occurs on a regular basis the teeth can be damaged and other oral health complications can arise.”

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
marinelife's avatar

It is stress. Grinding your teeth. You can get appliances to limit the damage.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, it’ll screw up your teeth. It will cause your gums to recede and eventually it will start breaking your teeth. The thing is, if you do it as you’re falling asleep, you’re probably doing it IN your sleep.

I’d talk with the dentist, or get a protective appliance. You know, teeth guards, like you find in the sporting sections, will work. They’re rubber, and if you boil them til they’re soft, then stick them in your mouth and bite down, they’ll conform to your personal teeth, and stay that way after they’ve cooled off.

GoldieAV16's avatar

It could also be a case of sleep-related facio mandibular myoclonus.

Did either of your parents do this? Have you ever bitten your tongue?

dabbler's avatar

I’ll suggest loosening your jaw muscles before you go to sleep to release whatever tension you jaw is expressing when you’re not conscious.
Slowly move the jaw side-to-side and forward-backward for a few minutes.

Perhaps you’re holding some frustrations of the day in your jaw… some things you left unsaid (possibly due to your good judgement or politeness, but unsaid nonetheless). Maybe you need some harmless yelling now and then, along the lines of primal therapy. Scream into a pillow? Force a laugh until it becomes funny and real?

My dentist tells me I grind my teeth, but as far as I can tell this happens after I’ve had some stiff coffee and I clench my jaw. I try to be aware of that and when it happens I actively release tension from my jaw muscles one way or another.

Response moderated (Spam)
DrNasiry's avatar

I’m a dentist, and yes it can have a negative effect on your teeth, depending on how much force you grind with.

You can get splints and guards fitted to your mouth to wear at night. You might find this will reduce any headaches you might be having, as well as jaw soreness.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wearing a mouth guard makes me want to punch a hole through the wall with my head.

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