HELP! My wife is grinding her teeth at night!

For about the last 3 nights, my wife has been grinding/gnashing her teeth in her sleep! She’s never done this except once or twice when we first started dating over five years ago. It’s so loud it wakes me up, and what’s worse, we’re afraid she’ll break her teeth!! What can we do about this?

Her doctor said she should see a dentist, but I don’t see what good her dentist is going to do until after she breaks them all off!!

Well it sounds like she must be under some serious stress, at least that’s the reason I’ve always been given. I’ve clenched my jaw for years, so much so that I have huge bone growths on my jaw ( under my tongue ) to try to support the pressure ( so said my dentist. ) I guess the idea is to get at the source of stress. Probably not much help for tonight.

Same thing happened to me years ago.

Went to the dentist, and he prescribed Valium and a rigid plastic custom-molded bite plate. Neither really worked although the Valium was kind of fun.

The problem went away when I quit my high stress job. Go figure.

Good luck to her.

If this condition becomes chronic she can be fitted for a retainer, which is a small piece of plastic fitted to her mouth similar to a football mouthguard but much smaller. Grinding teeth during the night could cause damage to the teeth and a retainer would prevent this.

In general, bruxism (teeth grinding) is due to stress. I do it a lot, and I have wear spots in my teeth from it. My dentist said I had two options: stress reduction or mouthguard. I found a mouthguard in a catalog (I’ll have to see if I still have it) that you could fit too your teeth. You heated it hot water and bit it. My problem with it was that the ends touched my tongue and made me gag.

In the SelfCare catalog I found another kind that is flexible and fits between your molars. That seems to work well - and no gag reflex.

These both are much less expensive than a custom mouthguard from your dentist.

I also would recommend a mouthguard. My Mom used to get migraines and grind her teeth at night and after having a mouthguard for awhile both subsided. She did manage to grind holes in the guard in the meantime but it did help.

The $400 for a DDS provided mouthguard is worth it, since it saves teeth in the long term. Crowns cost at least double per tooth. Continuous grinding not only wears down the enamel, but shakes the teeth in their ‘foundation’ making them more likely to come out prematurely.

The mouthguard also helps with headaches, IME.

Another tooth-grinder here. I have a retainer that serves as my mouthguard-- it’s clear, and covers a lot of my teeth. It used to get replaced every few months, and I was always amazed by the amount of wear on it. Still am. I guess I’m more stressed than I realize.

Yeah, grinding can lead to stress on the muscles of the face and even the bones in the temporomandibular joint (the jaw socket) and can cause migraine headches due to muscle and nerve overwork. I get those myself, but not due to grinding, just due to uneven “occlusion” (how the teeth match up in the bite).
But anyway… if you don’t get relief from a dentist, seek out an orthodontist. They’re better at this stuff.

Lord, yes. I’ve been grinding my teeth for years, waking up with a sore jaw. Finally one morning I woke up with my jaw out of line on one side. I couldn’t open or close it and my face swelled up. I got the $$$ mouthguard shortly after.