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What can I do to stop clenching my teeth?!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
My dentist mentioned to me recently that it looks like I've been clenching my teeth a lot. I didn't think so, but I started paying closer attention and - yes, I catch myself clenching my teeth constantly! I also wake up with my teeth tightly clenched (sometimes, with a hunk of my cheek caught between ). I'm not grinding, just clenching.

Yes, it's due entirely to stress and I'm doing what I can to relieve it but things are just really tough right now.

Is there anything I can do to help myself stop this? It's already making my gum recession a lot worse!
post #2 of 9
Hi

I'm a clencher and a grinder, so I feel for you. Stress is a huge factor for me too. One thing I do is try to do some deep breathing before bed, even while laying there in bed. I have been trying to do more yoga, but sometimes there just doesn't seem to be enough time. A big thing that helped me was magnesium. I take a calcium magnesium supplement during the day, and a magnesium supplement before bed. THat really seems to have helped, at least for now. Did your dentist offer to make you a nightguard or anything? Mine did, but it was almost $600.
post #3 of 9
For temporary help, (when you know the stress isn't going to last forever) I just used one of those mouthguards they make for kids playing football. You put it in boiling water and it molds to fit your teeth, and you can cut off all the extra rubber until you can close your mouth comfortably.
post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post
For temporary help, (when you know the stress isn't going to last forever) I just used one of those mouthguards they make for kids playing football. You put it in boiling water and it molds to fit your teeth, and you can cut off all the extra rubber until you can close your mouth comfortably.
I've done this, too.

I also find I clench more when I'm overly tired or stressed. Maybe some relaxing chamomile tea before a slightly earlier bedtime? Stretching your jaw gently by yawning right before you go to bed also helps.
post #5 of 9
They also have one in the store made for this called "Doctor's NightGuard". You boil it and fit it just like the sport's kind, but they are not as bulky. It works well (I'm a clencher too). They are around $20, so much cheaper than the $1000 my (former) dentist wanted to charge me.

Good luck!
post #6 of 9
I am the Queen of Clenching and Grinding. My dentist referred me to an specialist to make my custom mouthguards and even HE is amazed at the amount of damage I am able to do. I'm in my late 30s and my front bottom teeth are about half the size they should be, with lots of exposed enamel, even though I have an assortment of guards I wear religiously, based on whether I need to be able to talk or not.

So two things:

1) If you do clench &/or grind, please protect your teeth even if you are trying other approaches. A mouthguard (I have no experience with the store-bought ones) is a small price to pay for saving your teeth. I'm sure within ten years I'll need crowns or something on many of my poor damaged teeth.

2) I would LOVE to hear from others with SEVERE bruxism about what natural approaches may help, other than "just try to relax," because that ain't happening.

And I just found this board so if it's been discussed before, I apologize.

And I just noticed the OP is a clencher, not a grinder, so my major concern there would be headaches and pain, rather than loss of tooth surface.
post #7 of 9
I have TMJ problems and clench.

I have found that keeping the tip of my tongue on the roof of my mouth helps me not clench during the day. Or just leave your mouth open like saying "duuuuuuhhhhh". Thats how my chiro taught me.

Before bed I try to do deep breathing and also try to go to sleep with the same above with my mouth.

Hope that helps.
post #8 of 9
The custom night guards are worth every penny. I sleep so much better now, and it's nice to wake up without a headache.
post #9 of 9
I've known I am a clencher and was recently told I'm a grinder, too. It absolutely gets worse with stress. I went to the doc for ear pain and hearing loss thinking I had an ear infection and he told me I have TMD and referred me to my dentist. My dentist referred me to an orthodontist. The orthodontist is making me a splint. It's a nightgaurd but he calls it a splint because he wants me to wear it day and night at first until some of my painful symptoms lessen. Then I can go to just wearing it at night. I'm supposed to pick it up Tuesday and I can't wait. If it helps relieve the constant tension headache, jaw, neck, shoulder and upper back pain (the orthodontis said all of that is related to the TMD), and helps me sleep better, it'll be so worth it!

I massage and stretch my jaw several times a day. My acupuncturist showed me a way to massage my jaw muscles inside my mouth. That relieved a lot of the pain but I have to keep it up. Other than that I just try to be very conscsious about what I'm doing and unclench my teeth, relax my jaw as much as possible.
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