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  #1  
Old 12-05-2007, 11:31 AM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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How do I stop clenching my teeth in my sleep?

About once a week, I wake up to find that I've been clenching my teeth all night and now I've got a headache. It doesn't seem to have any correlation with stress. Does anyone know of ways to stop doing this?
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  #2  
Old 12-05-2007, 11:33 AM
pool pool is offline
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I believe you can buy some kind of tray to prevent doing this, or you can have one custom made for you at the dentist's office but I think its expensive.
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  #3  
Old 12-05-2007, 11:36 AM
tim314 tim314 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangermom
About once a week, I wake up to find that I've been clenching my teeth all night and now I've got a headache. It doesn't seem to have any correlation with stress. Does anyone know of ways to stop doing this?
I'm not sure about a way to stop clenching, but there are bite guards you can wear while you sleep that may help to prevent a headache and/or damage to your teeth and jaw. My wife had to use one for a while when she was clenching her teeth (in her case it was due to stress after a family tragedy, and as you might expect the problem went away with time). Beyond that, you might want to talk to a dentist, or perhaps some sort of sleep specialist.

The bite guards I've seen are available over the counter at the drug store (although I'm sure a dentist could make a fancier one). You heat them in water and then mold them to fit your teeth.
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  #4  
Old 12-05-2007, 11:40 AM
A.R. Cane A.R. Cane is offline
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It's called 'bruxism'. I used to do it, from stress I think. I't just went away, don't remember doing anything in particular. Here's a cite:
http://www.mayoclinic.org/bruxism/treatment.html
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  #5  
Old 12-05-2007, 11:47 AM
StuffLikeThatThere StuffLikeThatThere is offline
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I actually just bought a 97-cent mouthguard to try at night to help with this. I'm not usually a grinder, but I have been lately (because of stress; what a surprise). I recently had to have a crown done because I had cracked a tooth from grinding, and I don't want to do that again. If this doesn't help, I'll bite the bullet and get the dentist to make me one. Expensive? Yes, but cheaper than another crown!
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  #6  
Old 12-05-2007, 11:48 AM
Vinyl Turnip Vinyl Turnip is offline
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I don't know of any way to stop it, but if it's a frequent enough problem, a dental "night guard" may help. I've apparently suffered from bruxism most of my life; since my teens (long before I ever noticed it myself) I've had dentists telling me they could tell I ground my teeth.

I resisted my latest dentist's pleas that I be fitted for a night guard for a couple of years because of the expense ($800, a small portion of which was covered by insurance) and because I'd tried using them previously: first with the cheapo store-bought one that you "fit" yourself by heating it in hot water, which was useless, and later with one purchased from the dentist ($80) which I quickly stopped using because I found it highly uncomfortable to wear at night.

After noticing visible chips in my teeth I finally gave in and paid for the expensive one a couple of months ago, and I wear it every night. While it's not exactly pleasant, I have gotten used to it and it does seem to have lessened the tension headaches/TMJ pain I frequently experienced before.

Note that my current dentist claimed that the store-bought ones and even the cheaper (soft material) dentist-fitted devices can actually do damage to your teeth/bite over time. (Which may be objective truth, or influenced somewhat by his long-running desire to sell me on the pricey model...)

Or, you could try something like a nice fat dose of heroin at bedtime. Just make sure to never stop taking it after that.
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  #7  
Old 12-05-2007, 12:00 PM
ivylass ivylass is offline
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I paid $600 for my mouth guard through my dentist. It's a tiny little thing, designed to fit over my bottom two teeth.

I wear it during the week...you know, when I have to get up the next morning to go to work.
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  #8  
Old 12-05-2007, 01:40 PM
misling misling is offline
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I used to clench both my teeth and my hands while sleeping. I don't do it any more.

What I did was run through a relaxation/visualization thing every night before going to sleep. The routine included deliberately relaxing every part of the body starting at the toes and working up. I'd do the hands and jaws/teeth last. Then I'd repeat to myself that my jaws and hands would stay relaxed all night.
It worked for me. Don't know how valid it is as a general fix for anybody else. It seems that specifically relaxing and reminding myself as I was falling asleep was enough.

Last edited by misling; 12-05-2007 at 01:41 PM..
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  #9  
Old 12-05-2007, 01:49 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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Thanks everyone, I'll try out some of those things.

The trouble is that it doesn't happen every night, just every so often. So tonight, I'll be telling myself not to clench my teeth and will probably succeed. But then I'll forget for 3 days until I do it again! I need a note by my bedside.
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  #10  
Old 12-05-2007, 02:21 PM
gigi gigi is offline
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I bought the mouthguard from my dentist ($300) but don't use it the way I should. I too had a rear molar crack in two front to back so I really should use the guard to prevent more damage to that and other teeth.
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  #11  
Old 12-05-2007, 04:51 PM
TV time TV time is offline
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My wife had some success with dealing with this through hypnosis. Of course now whenever I say the word "creampuff," she stands on her head and clucks like a chicken (just joking - I just felt an 11-word response would not be satisfying).
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  #12  
Old 12-05-2007, 08:13 PM
vivalostwages vivalostwages is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivylass
I paid $600 for my mouth guard through my dentist. It's a tiny little thing, designed to fit over my bottom two teeth.

I wear it during the week...you know, when I have to get up the next morning to go to work.
Mine is a bit bigger and fits over some of the upper teeth. I am a jaw-clencher and I was getting TMJ syndrome so bad that it was killing me. Now I don't have that problem. I wear my little helper every night.
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  #13  
Old 12-05-2007, 08:38 PM
rbroome rbroome is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangermom
About once a week, I wake up to find that I've been clenching my teeth all night and now I've got a headache. It doesn't seem to have any correlation with stress. Does anyone know of ways to stop doing this?
I wear a bite guard made by my dentist every night. The alternative is losing one's teeth if the clenching is bad enough. Clenching damages the teeth but worse it erodes the gums. While they are somewhat inconvenient and expensive, those issues are far worse with dentures.....
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  #14  
Old 12-05-2007, 11:18 PM
vivalostwages vivalostwages is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangermom
About once a week, I wake up to find that I've been clenching my teeth all night and now I've got a headache. It doesn't seem to have any correlation with stress. Does anyone know of ways to stop doing this?
Your dentist may wish to do a panoramic jaw x-ray to get a closer look at the problem. You might be on your way to a case of TMJ syndrome as I mentioned earlier; believe me, you will want to stop it before it gets worse.
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  #15  
Old 12-05-2007, 11:32 PM
emmaliminal emmaliminal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangermom
The trouble is that it doesn't happen every night, just every so often. So tonight, I'll be telling myself not to clench my teeth and will probably succeed. But then I'll forget for 3 days until I do it again!
I got the dentist trays, the lectures on stress reduction, etc. End result - with the trays, on nights when I do this (which, like you, isn't every night), I grit my teeth so hard I make those plastic-y trays go SQUEAK!

mr emilyforce says he's afraid I'll break my teeth, but he's also the first to say the trays aren't doing the job. Maybe my trays aren't state of the art enough. Maybe trays never really work for some folks. I also do relaxation/visualization exercises many nights; apparently that's not enough either.

My mom can't chew raw carrots anymore due to her nocturnal bruxism. I'm very very all agog for a real solution.
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  #16  
Old 12-05-2007, 11:55 PM
Ruby Ruby is offline
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I've used an upper teeth NTI (night guard) for years and it has worked wonders for me. I've cracked more than my share of teeth from the constant clenching. Hub has even said he's heard me grinding my teeth in the middle of the night. That has to be pleasant...

A few weeks ago, mine suddenly broke in half. I just was fitted last week for a new NTI that fits on my upper teeth. I miss my NTI!
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  #17  
Old 12-06-2007, 12:23 AM
Ale Ale is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruby
Hub has even said he's heard me grinding my teeth in the middle of the night. That has to be pleasant...
No, it isnt, my GF grinds her teeth at night some times, it actually wakes me up; I gently touch her chin and she stops, but Im affraid to be messing up her sleep.
But better that than cracked teeth, right?
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  #18  
Old 12-06-2007, 12:12 PM
gigi gigi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emilyforce
I got the dentist trays, the lectures on stress reduction, etc. End result - with the trays, on nights when I do this (which, like you, isn't every night), I grit my teeth so hard I make those plastic-y trays go SQUEAK!
My Mom eventually broke hers from continuing to grind and clench. But her migraines went away.
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  #19  
Old 12-06-2007, 08:16 PM
Enright3 Enright3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gigi
I bought the mouthguard from my dentist ($300) but don't use it the way I should. I too had a rear molar crack in two front to back so I really should use the guard to prevent more damage to that and other teeth.
Biggest. Ripoff. Ever.

My wife was told to buy an expensive bruxism device by her dentist, and I asked him to explain why I shouldn't just buy a football mouth guard that you put in boiling water to soften it, then form it to your teeth. He said that would work.

Two more, then I'm done. My mother worked for a dentist all her life. I asked the dentist she worked for the same thing... same answer. As long is is covers the teeth, it would be fine. It can't be a cheepie that you can bite through.

Last one. My wife (RIP) used to have grand mal seizures. Her doc recommended she keep a mouth guard handy so when she felt the aura of a seizure coming on, she could put it in her mouth. I defy anyone to find me a person who bites harder in their slip than they do during a seziure. Those were scary, teeth clenching episodes.
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