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What can I do to stop my teeth grinding at night?

(26 Posts)
WilfSell Mon 18-Aug-08 15:45:34

I'm having a random 'sort out minor things wrong with my body' day today.

Actually this one is not minor: it has cost me a fortune in dental treatment - my dentist tells me my teeth are shattering from the stress...

She has suggested a bite guard which I used to have as a teenager but I'd rather treat the cause and not the symptom.

Why do I do it? I do it lots and not noticeably particularly when I'm more stressed. I have NO control over it but I can tell when I've been doing it as I have neck, back and jaw problems the next day. I can also sort of tell when my jaw hits its 'grinding' position accidentally - I have a sort of unconscious bodily memory of it, even though I'm fast asleep...

Has anyone tried anything else to fix this? Chemicals? Osteopathy? Weird chinese medicine? I dunno....

MrsSprat Mon 18-Aug-08 15:51:46

agree it's stress. 12 months maternity leave and a bit of yoga has worked well. It's completely involuntary though, so the mouthguard is good advice to avoid losing your jawline. Watch your seating posture, anything that ecourages clenching or hunching is bad and it might train your mind to be a bit more aware.

WilfSell Mon 18-Aug-08 15:53:08

Sorry - should say I only do it in my sleep (wasn't particularly clear in my OP)

Ripeberry Mon 18-Aug-08 15:54:58

I've got the same thing! Even now my teeth are clenching!
I've lost 3 teeth due to tooth grinding and my dentist can't believe how smooth my molars are!
Do the teeth guards cost much?

legalalien Mon 18-Aug-08 15:57:00

Sorry to be unhelpful WS - DS tried all kinds of things for this and ended up with a bite guard; I've apparently developed a similar problem (bit of a PITA after I've moaned about DS's tooth grinding habit for the last 5 years) and had my bite guard fitted last week. I did do a fair bit of googling without success.

will watch with interest to see whether there are any other suggestions......

RambleOn Mon 18-Aug-08 15:57:32

I had the same thing. They made me a special gumshield type thing which I wore at night. I stopped grinding within three nights of wearing it! I had been doing it for ten years or more.

legalalien Mon 18-Aug-08 16:00:14

ripeberry - seem to be some that you can buy over the counter Mine cost £140 (moulded, done by dentist), including the cost of the original dental appt and the follow up appt to pick up the guard - that's at private London city dentist rates though, so likely to be cheaper elsewhere I would think. And definitely cheaper than the consequences....

Romy7 Mon 18-Aug-08 16:05:22

emergency dentist told me off for this again yesterday... he said 'and it doesn't help you're a grinder, does it?'
why hasn't my proper dentist ever said anything??? i pay him a fortune!!
interestingly, my chiropractor really noticed the difference in my upper back and neck when i had been forced into a 'stress reduction' two weeks by massively high bp, so i figure it's all related...

got a dental appointment to fix this one when my dentist is back off hols (he thinks i have managed to get a stress fracture in a molar - i have no idea whether this means it will have to come out or if they can do a root canal and patch it up...)

urgh. watching for other suggestions!!

WilfSell Mon 18-Aug-08 16:13:44

I was wondering whether something like chiropractic could actually help with this? But presumably not if they haven't mentioned it...

Bit harsh of the dentist if you do it when you're sleeping like me Romy - if I knew I was doing it, I'd stop!

Ripeberry Mon 18-Aug-08 16:27:43

Thanks for the info legalalien!
Last visit to the dentist meant that i had to have a molar removed, same as on the other side (but then i managed to get an implant on the NHS), but that was 10yrs ago.
An implant now would cost £2,500!!!!shock.
Some nights i've woken up because of the grinding and some days i have an irresistable urge to bite down really hard as if my whole jaw has cramp! sad.

notcitrus Mon 18-Aug-08 16:29:51

A bite guard can help you get your jaw into a better position when it's relaxed, so it's treating the cause as well as the symptom.

Mine cost £30 via a London private dentist, and it was a bargain - I dig it out when I get particularly stressed and it means I can get a better night's sleep (which helps the stress).
An osteopath may also be useful if you're getting stiff back/shoulders/neck as well as jaw, but that costs more.

If you look up TMJ (temporal-mandibulo joint, aka your jaw) online you can find tips for exercises and massage that can help - I find massaging just below my ears works wonders.

Romy7 Mon 18-Aug-08 18:00:25

it's def when i'm sleeping... i just muttered 'my husband doesn't complain...' it had been mentioned by a dentist ages ago, but not by the one i've got now - i hadn't realised i was still doing it!

ripeberry - you sound like me - it's the second one that is going now (in the same place on the other side) and i fear this time it's not going to be fixable...

no implant avail on nhs here, so i have one gap, and expecting the second one shortly...

i go the chiro for stiff back/neck/shoulders... hadn't actually connected it all up before...

lol at you having a 'fixing' day Wilf. i tried it a few weeks ago and touted my wares for the gp. who stopped me driving. next time i'll ask on mn... grin

WilfSell Mon 18-Aug-08 20:14:36

Thanks all and esp notcitrus for the tips: I will look up jaw massage!

And looks like I'm going to need the guard, huh? Perhaps I'll be vain and get my teeth whitened while I'm at it (the dentist said you can do both with the guard grin)

Ripeberry Mon 18-Aug-08 20:20:18

Thanks notcitrus, that's very usefull.
I've always had stress in my shoulders and when i was a teenager used to get stress in the muscles of my ribcage, so it felt like i was having a heart attack!
Long story, but involves parents stressing me out with their problems.
Will look up the massage!

katiepotatie Mon 18-Aug-08 20:24:31

Bite split - expensive but has worked for my DH

katiepotatie Mon 18-Aug-08 20:25:02

that should be bite splint blush

WilfSell Mon 18-Aug-08 20:42:30

what is a bite splint katie?

Lubyloo Mon 18-Aug-08 20:44:51

Hypnotherapy can be very effective.

hatcam Mon 18-Aug-08 20:47:36

try cranial osteopathy - got to be worth a try, most good osteopaths will not require you to have endless repeat treatments and you'll know after the first go if you're responding.

can recommend excellent osteopath depending on where you are?

Lubyloo Mon 18-Aug-08 20:50:13

Waving to Katiepotatie - not seen you on here before but we used to belong to the same board on another site (or you have exactly the same nickname as someone from that board! smile

WilfSell Mon 18-Aug-08 20:52:47

just read about Botox as a possible treatment on Wikipedia here

ho ho ho

pointydog Mon 18-Aug-08 21:04:23

Are you preganat or planning to be? Then you'd get a bite guard for free.

katiepotatie Mon 18-Aug-08 21:25:38

Wilfsell - A bite splint is a bit like guard thingy that boxers wear, DH says it takes a bit of getting used to, but has helped loads. Just read more of the posts think it must be the same as a mouth guard/bite guard??
Lubyloo - I think you are mixing me with someone else, but hello all the same smile

PollyFlinders Tue 19-Aug-08 09:08:08

Another vote for the mouthguard here, it made such a difference to my back/neck pain and headaches...

I tend to wear it for a few weeks, and then do without once the grinding goes - it is supposed to 'retrain' your jaw muscles.

SqueakyPop Tue 19-Aug-08 09:11:08

You could take your dentist's advice and use a biteguard.

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