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poofandmook's avatar

How to stop clenching my jaw?

Asked by poofandmook (17272points) May 6th, 2010

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of headaches, and then I notice I’m clenching my jaw kind of hard, which I didn’t realize I was doing until I was already in pain. I’m not sure if the headaches are being caused by it, but that’s mostly when I notice I’m doing it.

I keep saying “okay, I’m going to remember to relax my face” and then an hour later, I realize I’m doing it again.

I don’t think it’s stress, since I just noticed it and I’m Fluthering and watching the Joy of Painting.

How do you stop something you’re not even doing consciously? Maybe something akin to solving the issue of someone grinding their teeth?

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26 Answers

zophu's avatar

Do you do it while you sleep as well, you think? You might need to get a mouthguard while you learn to relax. I had jaw problems over a few months while my wisdom teeth came in a couple of years ago. I found myself clenching and my jaw would get sore. I eventually got used to it, doing jaw exercises. Maybe your problem is similar to the one I had.

poofandmook's avatar

I’m not sure if I do it in my sleep.. don’t you feel a good deal of pain when you wake up if that’s the case? I don’t really.

tinyfaery's avatar

Teeth clenching is a sign of anxiety. I do it, even more so when I’m stressed. I have to wear a night guard when I sleep.

The only way to stop it is to become conscious of it. Good luck.

zophu's avatar

I didn’t feel much pain when I got up, I just noticed I was clenching. I think the negative effects are gradual. Never got a mouthguard, but I was tempted to before it began getting better.

janbb's avatar

I wear a mouthguard at night and also find myself clenching during the day. Whenever I catch myself clenching, I stick my tongue between my teeth for a bit. That helps somewhat to break the habit.

poofandmook's avatar

@janbb: That’s what I’ve been doing too; putting my tongue between my teeth.

janbb's avatar

It does actually help as both a reliever and a retrainer.

lillycoyote's avatar

I also have a problem with clenching and grinding my teeth at night. And do all of the above mentioned things, wear a night guard and put my tongue between my teeth to stop clenching. You should talk to your dentist about whether there are signs that you grind your teeth at night because if you do, it could cause you a lot of trouble down the road, like losing your teeth. Grinding at night is a major cause of tooth loss.

poofandmook's avatar

@lillycoyote: I get quarterly cleanings, and though I have multiple issues with my mouth, nobody has mentioned grinding. Though, with The Horrible Thing I’ve been dealing with, I missed my cleaning in April, and it’s very possible that I’ve started grinding since being diagnosed with the anxiety disorder. Grrr

Kayak8's avatar

Thanks for asking the question as I find that I do the same thing!

YARNLADY's avatar

Try to find the underlying cause of the stress, and treat that.

tranquilsea's avatar

A mouth guard will definitely help. I clenched my teeth at night, although I didn’t know that I did until I had done massive damage to my jaw joints. I didn’t have any pain upon waking up. But I did have bouts of lockjaw, which really sucks. After sleeping with a mouth guard for 4 years I finally don’t clench at night anymore.

You don’t want to mess around with that as I ended up completely destroying my right jaw joint and my jaw swung to the left. Now I am a year into wearing braces as my teeth no longer met.

tranquilsea's avatar

Um, that last word should be “meet” and not met.

poofandmook's avatar

Is it hard to get used to a mouth guard? I sleep on my stomach.. I don’t want to get one and then find out it hurts or is uncomfortable.

I need to do something though, because about 2 minutes into a meal, chewing really starts to hurt.

Is there a particular brand or type I should look for? I’ve never bought one before.

janbb's avatar

Usually, your dentist will have to make a custom one for you. I found it took a few days to get used to it, now I have trouble falling asleep if I’ve forgotten to put it in!

poofandmook's avatar

my dad said I could get a cheap one at the pharmacy until I can get to the dentist…?

lillycoyote's avatar

It took me a while to get used to mine. I would find it in my bedding because I had spit it out some time during the night without even realizing, but you get used to it.

janbb's avatar

I’‘ve never tried a generic one. You certainly could get one temporarily but don’t get discouraged from getting a custom one if the drugstore one doesn’t work.

poofandmook's avatar

@janbb: well it’s also a matter of cost. I’m shelling out big bucks for therapy, doctors, and medications until I finally meet my insanely high deductible. So a custom fit mouth guard is not happening until my deductible is met and I can stop bleeding my wallet on all the other lovely anxiety treatments. Honestly, with all that crap, I never thought I was going to have to worry about my teeth because of it.

lillycoyote's avatar

@poofandmook you can get one at the drug store that you put in boiling water to soften it up to shape to your teeth and mouth. I also use one of these because I currently can’t afford the $300 plus dollars it would cost to replace my custom made mouth guard that was destroyed when I put it in the diswasher to clean it. And my dentist said it was fine. The none custom made one’s are probably better than nothing but I still think it is something you should talk to your dentist about, just because, as I said, clenching and grinding your teeth when you sleep is a major cause of tooth loss.

tranquilsea's avatar

I’ve had both upper ones and lower ones. Every dentist I saw wanted to make a new one. The lower splint was definitely easier to get used to, but many dentists choose to make an upper.

When you go for a professionally fit one, ask for a lower.

poofandmook's avatar

Custom fit mouth guard from dentist: $405. Met Life insurance sucks. No custom fit mouth guard for me. Generic crap from pharmacy, here I come.

janbb's avatar

@poofandmook Don’t think I’ll give that a GA. BooHoo!

poofandmook's avatar

@janbb: I just can’t understand how Met Life, in all its “wisdom”, doesn’t cover a mouth guard. If someone grinds their teeth, it’s just going to cost more in dental work that they’ll have to pay for. So stupid.

poofandmook's avatar

I picked up a mouth guard tonight.. I don’t know why I expected them to be cheaper. Had to boil it, and mold it around my teeth, and let it set for 30 seconds in cold water. pretty nifty though, how it’s custom fit now, even with an imprint of my teeth. Makes me wonder what in the heck would cost over $400 when I just did the same thing for $26!

Thanks all, for the help. I had no idea you could get those over the counter.

zophu's avatar

@poofandmook You can use that for sports too, probably. :)

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