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Teeth Clenching
Old 12-26-2009, 06:31 PM   #1
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Teeth Clenching

Why do I clench my teeth? Has anyone had this problem/habit and been able to get rid of it?

The daytime clenching is greatly reduced (although not completely gone) since I am living a relatively stress-free life at this point. The nighttime clenching does not seem to have been reduced at all.

Why do humans do this? I'm sick of it and don't know how to make it stop!
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Old 12-26-2009, 07:08 PM   #2
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Lots on the net about this. Usually clenching is due to stress. Take a hint and go to yoga or start working out. I used to be a teeth clencher, too, and I only know it because any Dentist I saw mentioned it. Luckily for me, I was asleep and not aware of it, but I was aware I was often under stress.
There is also some plastic thing they sell for teeth clenchers to wear at night. That, also, is checkable on the net.
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Old 12-26-2009, 07:30 PM   #3
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I have a custom nightguard I got from the dentist several years ago but I still wake up with a headache from the muscles being tense all night.

The only stress I have is I might get a job offer in January (when they return to work) from my last interview! I feel like I am living almost stress free but it wouldn't hurt to get more exercise. I've been a bit of a slacker lately.

I was hoping someone could pass along the magic bullet that worked for them.
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Old 12-26-2009, 07:32 PM   #4
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I used to do the same but it stopped when I retired with no particular action on my part. If I am stressed or worried it returns. This is probably not much help but offered for info.
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Old 12-26-2009, 07:34 PM   #5
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Maybe others are luckier than I, but the only stress reducers I know are sex and exercise (same difference often...I said often, by the way). No sex now, so I have to work out..ha! But I don't clench my teeth anymore.

Yeah, I kept waiting for that magic bullet to lose weight this past year, but, unfortunately, along with No Santa there's no magic bullet. Exercise it is then, kid.
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Old 12-26-2009, 07:36 PM   #6
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Maybe others are luckier than I, but the only stress reducers I know are sex and exercise (same difference often...I said often, by the way). No sex now, so I have to work out..ha! But I don't clench my teeth anymore.
Doing both may solve the problem twice as fast!
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Old 12-26-2009, 07:38 PM   #7
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I should be so lucky....har! Someday in the future maybe...
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Old 12-27-2009, 02:00 AM   #8
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I began clenching my teeth as a teenager because I thought it looked cool (a la Clint Eastwood). Then my dentist noticed the wear on my teeth. Doh! I stopped during the day, but how to stop while sleeping?
He was a licensed hynotist (sounds whacko I know but my parents picked him, an older German immigrant) and he claimed I could hypnotize myself to stop. He said that I should say to myself just before going to sleep, "I will not clench my teeth. If I begin to clench my teeth, I will wake up, and stop clenching my teeth." As I recall, I did wake up a few times with clenched teeth, but in a remarkably short time, I was cured. Placebo effect or not, it worked.
But now I hear they have plastic mouthguards that sound a lot more sensible than German immigrant hypnotist dentists. Still, you might try hypnotizing yourself, the price is right.
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Old 12-27-2009, 09:59 AM   #9
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I began clenching my teeth as a teenager because I thought it looked cool (a la Clint Eastwood). Then my dentist noticed the wear on my teeth. Doh! I stopped during the day, but how to stop while sleeping?
He was a licensed hynotist (sounds whacko I know but my parents picked him, an older German immigrant) and he claimed I could hypnotize myself to stop. He said that I should say to myself just before going to sleep, "I will not clench my teeth. If I begin to clench my teeth, I will wake up, and stop clenching my teeth." As I recall, I did wake up a few times with clenched teeth, but in a remarkably short time, I was cured. Placebo effect or not, it worked.
But now I hear they have plastic mouthguards that sound a lot more sensible than German immigrant hypnotist dentists. Still, you might try hypnotizing yourself, the price is right.
This doesn't sound wacky to me. I use the same technique to wake myself up at a desired time. I set my alarm as a backup but I don't like to be awakened by it so I tell myself to wake up a few minutes before the alarm time I set.

I have a good nightguard to protect my teeth but I wake up with a headache every morning which is a drag.
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Old 12-27-2009, 11:56 AM   #10
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I never woke up with headaches, never woke up with clenched teeth, nothing and no symptoms. I only know cause maybe 4 different Dentists pointed it out by the wear on my choppers. So, obviously, you can be clenching and not aware of it. I guess I was grinding on my teeth in my sleep.
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Old 12-27-2009, 01:14 PM   #11
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I wear a night guard, but still wake up with soreness in my jaw and sometimes a light headache. I also clench my jaw during the day. I try to relieve the tightness in my jaw by opening my mouth as wide as possible to release the tension (similar to lion's breath in yoga). I carry my stress in my upper shoulders/neck/jaw. I exercise almost everyday (sometimes 2x day) which includes yoga 2x week. I'm a worrier and a bit of a control freak...so it is no mystery why I clench my jaw.
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Old 12-27-2009, 01:58 PM   #12
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I have a custom nightguard I got from the dentist several years ago but I still wake up with a headache from the muscles being tense all night.

The only stress I have is I might get a job offer in January (when they return to work) from my last interview! I feel like I am living almost stress free but it wouldn't hurt to get more exercise. I've been a bit of a slacker lately.

I was hoping someone could pass along the magic bullet that worked for them.
there are some home fitted guards that you can get in the drugstore that are softer, which might reduce the strain on your jaw. The dentist is just concerned with protecting your teeth. I found his guard to be very hard, at least until the dog got hold of it.

there is a third type I recall reading about which fits on the front of your teeth, which I believe reduces the strain on jaw

did you start clenching after retiring? maybe you need to get back to work.

I developed a grinding issue during a financial crisis a few years back

If you are open to trying something kooky, some people believe that this sort of "acting out" on the part of your mind is a cry for help

after making sure that work or lack thereof is a positive contribution to your lifestyle, and reviewing your exercise and overall relationship to what I call anthropological correctness (nature, gardening, animals), its possible that your creative mind, we all have one, is cranky with you.

maybe take a drawing class (with nude models)....I can think of worse things to try
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Old 12-27-2009, 02:26 PM   #13
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Yeah, I'd say grinding your teeth would be an unconscious way of crying for help. I needed help...and money during those early years I was grinding. Having no soft pillow to land on if I fell, I had a pretty rough time in my 20's and early 30's, but, amazingly, I got thru it safely until I started making enough to not have to live more-or-less hand to mouth. Not an unusual story I assume in American business.
Lack of money probably is causing alot of grinding now in this economy I should think.
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Old 12-27-2009, 02:28 PM   #14
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Me too. I've got a custom appliance to protect my teeth. I've used the ones in the drugstore but they make me drool (yuck!). Wonder if it will get better after I retire? Sometimes, I get the sore jaw despite the appliance but most of the time I don't. It does seem to be stress related but it is involuntary while I'm unconscious so it is hard to control.
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Old 12-27-2009, 02:30 PM   #15
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did you start clenching after retiring? maybe you need to get back to work.

I developed a grinding issue during a financial crisis a few years back

If you are open to trying something kooky, some people believe that this sort of "acting out" on the part of your mind is a cry for help

after making sure that work or lack thereof is a positive contribution to your lifestyle, and reviewing your exercise and overall relationship to what I call anthropological correctness (nature, gardening, animals), its possible that your creative mind, we all have one, is cranky with you.

maybe take a drawing class (with nude models)....I can think of worse things to try
I got the nightguard at least 10 years ago so this has been an ongoing problem. Might I also be a first-born, worrier, control freak? Surely not!

I'm like DOG in that I was also constantly scrunching up my shoulders. I would tell myself to relax my shoulders and catch myself doing it again within 30 seconds.

Being out of work has greatly reduced the amount of daytime shoulder scrunching and jaw clenching but I don't seem to have made much progress on not doing it while sleeping. The fear of someone offering me a job is probably what is stressing me out. I ran the numbers through Firecalc and it appears I may not have to go back to work. That's got me a little freaked out also.

So are you recommending the drawing or the modeling?
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Old 12-27-2009, 05:01 PM   #16
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Never a grinder, but definitely a chronic clencher while w*rking. My dentist ruled out TMJ when I described medium pain and aching in the jaw.
Post FIRE, not a problem. I do notice that I will automatically clench if there is any sort of stress, a very infrequent issue these days.
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Old 12-27-2009, 05:28 PM   #17
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Never a grinder, but definitely a chronic clencher while w*rking. My dentist ruled out TMJ when I described medium pain and aching in the jaw.
Post FIRE, not a problem. I do notice that I will automatically clench if there is any sort of stress, a very infrequent issue these days.
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Clenching tapered off after retirement. September '08 (when the electricity was out for 6 days) I started clenching again.
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Old 12-27-2009, 05:57 PM   #18
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I clicked on one of the ads that appeared at the top of this thread. There's a dental lab in GA you can access directly instead of going through a dentist for nightguards or whitening. Takes out the middleman. Interesting.

Precision Dental Works.
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Old 12-27-2009, 07:55 PM   #19
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I've had this problem. I finally went to my dentist because a molar was causing some pain. Since I had undergone a root canal in that tooth, be believed I was clenching my teeth. He asked if I had been under stress and I said no. He didn't want me to use a mouth guard just yet. He suggested I drink a little wine before I go to bed and see if that helped.

It did.

During that week I thought about what could be giving me stress. Well, a couple of weeks before I had spent time with my family and some of the time while I was there was not very pleasant. Even though I didn't feel stressed in my mind, I realized my body could be reacting to stress. After another week went by, I stopped clenching my teeth...without the wine.
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Old 12-27-2009, 08:51 PM   #20
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I never woke up with headaches, never woke up with clenched teeth...
Same here.

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I only know cause maybe 4 different Dentists pointed it out by the wear on my choppers. So, obviously, you can be clenching and not aware of it. I guess I was grinding on my teeth in my sleep.
Some of my molars have been ground down flat and their enamel layers so thin that the teeth became sensitive to hot and cold. Result: I have caps on a few, and now wear a night guard.
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