Lately I’ve noticed that I’ve been clenching my jaw rather tightly and grinding my teeth together. I suspect it’s contributed to some headaches I’ve had in the past few weeks. When I notice it, I stop immediately, but it’s something I’ve been doing without realizing it.
Yes-get to the dentist and get a mouth guard. I grind my teeth in my sleep, and I noticed some sensitivity in a couple teeth. She checked it out, and told me I was wearing off my enamel. They did an impression and made one for me. It takes a bit to get used to, but it helps a lot. Mine was $75 and insurance wouldn’t cover it.
You may have what is called TMJ. (I don’t know exactly what the initials stand for)
The catch is that a medical doctor can say you have TMJ not your dentist. That’s how our insurance got out of paying for my wife’s mouthguard.
She also takes muscle relaxers at night to cut down on the grinding. She wears through a mouthguard in about a year.
Do you think you are grinding at night or just during the day? Are you overly stressed? It may be a sympton of some other problem, so fixing that problem will make the grinding go away.
You also might want to try one of those athletic mouth guards you can buy in a sporting goods store. You put it in hot water, then mold it to fit your mouth. It’s a lot less expensive than having one made by a dentist and just might work.
Guin, insurance probably wouldn’t help, anyway. Most policies don’t pay for mouthguards. See your dentist if this continues. Hard bite planes are expensive, but they’re for the hardcore clenchers and grinders. Ask about a soft bite plane, to be used as a training aid if you can’t stop this on your own.
I clench my teeth at night too. The simple answer is it’s caused by stress. Try getting more exercise and cut back on caffeine. If it goes on too long you it can develop into TMJ, where your jaw gets out of alignment and causes headaches. Treating it is tricky as it’s half way between dentist and doctor. I live in NJ and found a dentist who specializes in TMJ. See if you regular dentist can recommend a specialist if it continues. Getting a night guard mouthpiece will prevent your teeth from ‘locking up’ when you clench and help prevent TMJ problems. My regular dentist made a mouth guard for my bottom teeth which my specialist said was wrong. He made me one for my top teeth which was better.
To treat me the TMJ specialist had me visit a physical theraphist who specialist in facial muscles. Through facial / head massages and heat treaments they were able to relax the muscles and get my jaw back into alignment which cured the headaches. It is definately treatable, but you have to find the right people. Most doctors and dentists don’t really know how to treat it. The physical therapy was picked up by my insurance. Good luck!
I had a hard mouthguard I got through my dentist that I wore at night. It was not covered by insurance, and it ran me around $300. However, I think I did most of my grinding during the day.
If you’re aware of your grinding and clenching, it’s not too hard to train yourself not to do it. I no longer wear my mouthguard at night, and I rarely have problems with grinding anymore. I just started catching myself clenching my jaw and stopped it. It took a while - 2 or 3 years altogether - but I did it.
Maybe do something like wear a watch with an alarm on it. Set the alarm to an hour, and every time it goes off make sure you’re not clenching. After a while, it’ll become almost an unconscious thing.
Guin didn’t say she was grinding her teeth at night, and from the description, I’d say that isn’t the problem. my teeth-grinding happens almost exclusively during the day, and almost constantly, too. If Guin is anything like me, she’s doing it because she’s pissed off all the time because people are idiots. I recommend therapy.
A second vote for cutting down on caffeine. This can have a major effect.
Also another little trick I use is when I notice myself doing it, I stick my tongue out just a tiny little bit, so it sits between my teeth. It forces me to relax my jaw and stop clenching.
This is a completely unprofessional opinion, but I think anyone who grinds during the day most likely grinds at night.
Get a mouthguard. I have a hugely expensive (not insurance-covered) one, but I bet the cheapy ones would do nicely as well. Everybody I know with a mouthguard loves it. We’d wear it all day, if it didn’t make us drool. You should really look into it; get a cheapy one at the grocery store and see how you like it. I would rescue my mouthguard if my house caught on fire.
What’s that I hear? Alarm bells?
So you’re on anti-depressants? Unless you have a crazy doctor, I’m going to presume you have some kind of mental illness, correct me if I’m wrong.
So it seems like it’s a reaction from stress? Find some way to just relax, IANAPORAH so you probably know better what calms you down the best. Of course, this only works while you’re awake. But not being upset in any way before you go to bed, might help. I second the $7 sports mouthguard you can buy from the chemist.
Go take a bath
The dental term for grinding your teeth is Bruxism. The hard mouth guard they sell you is called a Bruxism Device.
TMJ is short for TemporoMandibular Joint, the joint where the mandible (the lower jaw) joins the temporal bone of the skull, immediately in front of the ear on each side of the head.
Rdshooze, that’s good advice. The athletic mouths are a safe alternative to the expensive bruxism devices that you get at the dentist. They also recommended one for my wife when she could feel a seizure coming on (She would get an aura of some type before she seized).
If you’re grinding or clenching your teeth during the day, then you’re probably doing the same thing at night in your sleep.
SWMBO ground her teeth for years. As a result, she has pretty much destroyed her left TMJ. She has to wear a mouthguard when she sleeps and takes an Elavil every night to relax the muscles and reduce the grinding.
I tried one of those first, at the suggestion of my dentist. I had no luck with getting it molded to my teeth. I could barely get my teeth to imprint into it, and when I tried to trim the excess (and there was a lot of excess) it was almost impossible to do. I had a sharp knife, too. I followed the instructions to the letter. I sent it back to the company for a refund. Perhaps others have had good luck with them, but it didn’t work for me at all.