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Old 04-05-2009, 11:11 AM
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Teeth clenching/grinding

Does anybody else clench or grind their teeth? I clench my teeth at night and I have ever since I was 20. (5 years) Every night I bite down hard and it continues all night. I wear a mouth guard, but it almost seems to provoke my clenching because something is in my mouth.

I know I should be getting massages, which I will be doing more regularly here soon. But are there any other techniques anybody does to help with clenching? Will this be a lifetime thing? My jaws are starting to pop when I eat certain foods like steak or anything more chewy and tough.

It sucks because I get tension headaches that start at my shoulders and work up to the back of my dome.

Just wondering if other people suffer from this and if they have any tips or advice! Thanks guys!
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:25 PM
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I had mouth guards when I was in middle school because I couldn't stop grinding my teeth at night. Then in high school, I clenched my teeth a lot during the day (I think it was because high school was really stressful). At the beginning of college, my dentist told me to figure out a way to stop clenching (LOL) because I was going to wear my teeth down a lot more than they should be at my age. So...no real tips, but I've pretty much stopped doing it. I trained myself to not have my top and bottom teeth touch (or touch very lightly) when my mouth is closed. That sounds really weird.
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Old 04-05-2009, 01:20 PM
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Does your nightguard go on your top teeth or bottom? I had a top one and the exact same problem, that it made me clench more, but then my dentist told me that I should have a bottom one for TMJ issues (the top was a combo nightguard/retainer made by my ortho), and it's a lot better. I still have problems, but not as bad as they were.
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Old 04-05-2009, 04:23 PM
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Hi guys. Thank you for your response. Mine is a top one. I have seen all sort of different mouth pieces for TMJ. I need to see a dentist who actually specializes in TMJ disorders. But I don't know how to train myself to not clench at night because I do it subconsciously while I am sleeping. But during the day I don't do it.
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Old 04-05-2009, 06:14 PM
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There is no way to train yourself not to clench/grind at night. There is no magic cure for this. All you can do is mitigate the damage to your teeth and joint. Is your nightguard hard or soft (or combo hard/soft)
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Old 04-05-2009, 06:16 PM
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It's rubbery if that makes any sense.
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Old 04-05-2009, 06:20 PM
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as in completely flexible throughout? you need a hard acrylic outside. combo hard/soft... hard on the outside, soft rubbery material on the inside
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Old 04-05-2009, 06:31 PM
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Yes it is completely flexible. I paid so much freakin' money for this thing I am pissed if it's not the right one I need...
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Old 04-05-2009, 06:41 PM
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I used to clench and grind my teeth so bad that my parents would wake up.
But it faded away as I gradually got older.
:/
your problem sounds a little more severe though.

But I would recommend seeing a dentist or maybe even an orthodontist?
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Old 04-05-2009, 11:03 PM
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I have a really bad grinding problem as well. My dentist said it's probably stress related and in my case I think that's correct. My sister noticed I grind more when I have an exam or something important to do the next day. Unfortunately, I can't really prevent being stressed out.

I was also told to wear a night guard. I'm so glad that I do because since I've had it for a few years now, I can really see the wear on the guard. Glad it's on the guard and not on my teeth. I think it takes getting used to, so if you are a big grinder like I am I would highly consider it.
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Old 04-05-2009, 11:09 PM
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Hi Snowhite!

I don't think I grind. I only clench. And yes, I have wear on my guard too haha! It all started when I was diagnosed with anxiety. HOORAY FOR STRESS!
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Old 04-06-2009, 01:07 AM
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I clench my teeth sometime, but then I just try to get in a comfortable postion and relax myself.
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Old 04-06-2009, 01:12 AM
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Oops, I misread that you already use a mouth guard. Those things are so annoying, huh? Good thing you only clench - I grind and before I got my guard you could already tell the effect on my teeth. Anxiety and stress are the cause of many annoying problems it seems.

Can someone tell you what times/situations you clench more often? Whenever I get deeper/more restful sleep I don't seem to have as much of a problem. What causes me to get more restful sleep is exhausting myself physically. Everytime I exercise before bed it seems my body and muscles are too tired to think about being used...including my face/jaw muscles. Coincidental? Maybe, but it works for me.
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Old 04-06-2009, 01:27 AM
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Hmmm. I never thought exercising before bed was a great idea because it would make you all hyper, yeah? Maybe not. Maybe I should start running a few miles before bed haha! I don't ever notice it getting worse or better. It's pretty much the same every morning I wake up. I lay in bed and slowly try to open my mouth and it's so tense and tight and I just kind of leave it open for a while to loosen up. So annoying!!! Ugh!
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Old 04-06-2009, 02:55 AM
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I have a mouthguard like Pam described that goes over top and bottom teeth. My jaw pops and even completely locks up sometimes.

I saw an orofacial pain specialist and they gave me a prescription for Flexeril (muscle relaxant) on an as-needed basis for times when my jaw gets especially sore/tense. I take it at night until the soreness goes away. It's only a temporary solution though.

Other than that, I have to be really conscious of how I'm holding my mouth during the day. You may not realize that you have your jaw muscles engaged for long periods of time when you could be relaxing them.
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Old 04-06-2009, 06:48 AM
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I used to do that, too, to the point of my jaw got "locked" - ouch!! The nightguard seemed to make it worse for me, too. I have no advice except to reduce your stress. My clenching seemed to go away on its own as my life calmed down after college and a sucky marriage/divorce. A lot of my IBS symptoms went away as well, so I think it was stress-related.

So, stress management....yoga, exercise, etc???
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Old 04-06-2009, 07:29 AM
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I am going in this week to be fitted for a night guard I only found out this past year that I grind my teeth in my sleep -- no one ever told me! I am not conscious that I do it, and I have no idea how long it's been going on for. I am hoping the night guard helps out, because the last thing I want to do is grind my teeth down any further
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Old 04-06-2009, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plastic_alligator View Post
Yes it is completely flexible. I paid so much freakin' money for this thing I am pissed if it's not the right one I need...

A soft nightguard is ok just to prevent wear to the teeth surfaces, but to be honest it is completely insufficient for treating the TMJ. It does not properly position and hold the mandible. You need a hard occlusal splint.
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:00 AM
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^That's what my dentist told me finally... I wish you were in Canada, Pam, you could have saved me years of pain I'm sure! I have a hard occlusal splint now and it's awesome... I haven't woken up with my jaw muscles tense since a couple days after I got it in the beginning of January.
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:14 AM
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I saw a Ear Nose & Throat MD b/c I was having problems with my right ear. I would hear a clicking nose and then it seemed to somewhat close up and all sound was like I was in a tunnel. He checked my hearing and it was OK and then prescribed me prednisone. I took the full course and didn't tolerate it very well plus it did not fix the problem. I also had to go through X-rays and an MRI to rule out other potential problems which showed nothing at all. He told me to quit chewing gum and that I had TMJ but offered nothing else. The clicking/tunnel noise lasted about 3 months and would happen 3-5x daily and would last 10-30 minutes. It went away for about 8 months and then came back for a couple of months and now it has been gone since maybe Sept 08. Does this sound at all like TMJ? He didn't mention tx for it. Just said that if it continued I would need to see an oral surgeon for surgery.
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Old 04-06-2009, 12:36 PM
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Michelle- IMO it sounds like TMJ. The clicking part anyways...

Pam- A friend of mine going through dental school told me to get the splint thing you are talking about I believe. He said he makes it to where you can't bite down or something? Or it positions your jaws somehow. I can't quite remember what he said. But yeah this rubber one I wear every night just makes me bite it and chew it in my sleep.

Plus I chew gum on a daily basis. I am self conscious about my breath. Maybe I should downgrade to mints. (I think the mouthguard harbors bacteria and gives me weird breath. I wash it every night and clean it before I put it in...)

I will mention the hard occlusal splint to a dentist and see what happens! I am so tired of these headaches!

DarlinAnna- It is best to have a mouth guard because it acts like a shock absorber I guess and instead of grinding your teeth together, you're chewing on a rubbery thing. Maybe we both should get these splint things everyone is talking about.
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Old 04-06-2009, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michelle View Post
I saw a Ear Nose & Throat MD b/c I was having problems with my right ear. I would hear a clicking nose and then it seemed to somewhat close up and all sound was like I was in a tunnel. He checked my hearing and it was OK and then prescribed me prednisone. I took the full course and didn't tolerate it very well plus it did not fix the problem. I also had to go through X-rays and an MRI to rule out other potential problems which showed nothing at all. He told me to quit chewing gum and that I had TMJ but offered nothing else. The clicking/tunnel noise lasted about 3 months and would happen 3-5x daily and would last 10-30 minutes. It went away for about 8 months and then came back for a couple of months and now it has been gone since maybe Sept 08. Does this sound at all like TMJ? He didn't mention tx for it. Just said that if it continued I would need to see an oral surgeon for surgery.

do you have wisdom teeth.

what was the MRI for (what was it looking to rule out). did it look at the tmj at all??
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Old 04-06-2009, 12:44 PM
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Michelle- IMO it sounds like TMJ.
professional pet peeve..... EVERYONE has a TMJ. TMJ = temporomandibular joint. TMD is temporomandibular disorder
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Old 04-06-2009, 01:04 PM
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^ lol, my dentist brother-in-law has corrected many on this.
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Old 04-06-2009, 01:21 PM
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professional pet peeve..... EVERYONE has a TMJ. TMJ = temporomandibular joint. TMD is temporomandibular disorder
True.
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