It happens when I try to nap. I’ll be drifting into sleep when I’ll start into a dream and start grinding my teeth. But I won’t be really asleep so this will panic me into waking up, but in the act of waking up I will still suffer the two to three seconds of immobilization and panic as I try to return to state in which I can correct my crazy jaw and take a short walk to get the jitters out.
The jaw grinding seems rather violent, and I have never noticed it during periods of “actual” sleep ( >3 hours). Am I alone?
PS: These usually coincide with vivid nightmares beginning. And I have an odd fixation with broken glass in my mouth in these dreams.
I started to have that years ago when I was in a very stressful job. My dentist fitted me with a night guard (little plastic mouthpiece) and that made a huge difference.
It finally needed replacing last month, approximately 12 years old.
I’d highly recommend getting one (talk to your dentist and see if your insurance covers it, they can cost a few hundred dollars) - much cheaper than grinding your teeth down.
Also look for any sources of stress in your life and see what you can do about them. When I quit that one horrible job my stress level dropped incredibly and amongst other things the tooth grinding became much less of an issue.
I do it, but when I’m awake, not when I’m asleep. My dentist is very concerned about the wear to my teeth. I don’t know what the hell to do about it. It’s not at night, so I can’t wear a mouthguard; and other tips (“Keep your tongue between your teeth”) don’t work for me.
Funny you should mention it. I was just talking to my dentist about this yesterday. I don’t grind, but I do clench, but apparently it’s not bad enough to do anything about. And it is definitely related to the stress in my life. I am looking for a new job, hopefully one not in the legal field so maybe working with actual people will help. I agree with what bbs2k says about the mouth guard.
I’m a clencher, not a grinder, and I was just talking to my dentist about this. He told me that clenching is just as bad for your teeth as grinding, but it doesn’t show the telltale signs on your teeth so it’s harder to diagnose.
I clench during the day more than I clench/grind at night, so I’ve been able to teach myself not to do it, with the help of a mouthguard. I highly recommend a guard - when I was first diagnosed, I wore it even during the day and it played a big part in getting me to stop the clenching. Basically, you look like a big dork wearing it, so you have a lot of motivation to fix yourself so you don’t have to wear it.
I was lucky to have very sympathetic dentists who took me seriously and who also were very free with the painkillers. Non-grinders/clenchers have no idea how painful it can be - tooth pain and headaches that can drive you up a tree.
ever since i quit smoking, i’ve noticed that the teeth grinding has increased. i have retainers back from my braces days, so i wear those at night to prevent any nocturnal grinding. definitely check into getting a mouthguard. your teeth - and your bank account - will thank you.
I did some serious damage to my jaw by doing this, but I managed to break the habit and I don’t do it any more. Mouthguards and such didn’t work because I kept on grinding/clenching, but doing it against rubber just made me tired and even more sore.
Here’s how I learned to stop doing it: Whenever you feel your jaw wanting to clench or grind, place your tongue (as comfortably as possible) on the roof of your mouth, and redirect the clenching/grinding energy into pressing your tongue up and forward a little, against the slopey part of the roof of your mouth. (You know you’re doing it right when it’s comfortable for you to hold your tongue there, and your jaw is relaxed and slightly open.) It sounded strange to me at first, but I kept on seeing this tongue thing described in different contexts (yoga, meditation, etc) so I thought there might be more to it than was initially apparent.
Now I have completely stopped grinding and clenching my jaw, even when really stressed. I must have trained myself to do it unconsciously. I think my mouth muscles learned that the tongue thing was just as satisfying, but less painful, than the grinding/clenching. I know I don’t even do it in my sleep any more because, when I did in the past, I used to wake up with a sore jaw. Also I would have terrible dreams about my teeth falling out. Neither of these things has happened to me since I started doing the tongue thing.
If you have a lot of pain in your jaw and neck, you might have TMJ disorder, like I do. Aside from the tongue thing described above, I find regular magnesium supplements help the pain quite a lot, so much so that when the pain comes back, I know I’ve missed a few pills.
(I am not a doctor, just reporting my own experience. Talk to your doctor/dentist/oral surgeon/nutritionist/naturopath. etc)