Clenching your teeth can damage tooth structure and hurt your gums, not to mention make the muscles in your face hurt and interrupt your sleep. Clenching is often but not always accompanied by grinding your teeth. It can be difficult to stop clenching your teeth in your sleep because, obviously, you're not conscious. But if you're also clenching your teeth during the day, you have a chance to consciously reduce the risk of damage to your teeth.
Get Protective Measures Into Place
While you do want to address the source of the clenching, get immediate protective measures into place. A night guard will help with nighttime clenching while you sleep, and you can wear it around the house when you're awake, too. Remember to clean the guard daily, and notify your dentist if the guard seems to be cracking (it's not unheard of to clench teeth so hard that they start to bite through softer guards). These guards are available from your dentist; while you can get generic ones online, those may not fit as well as you need them to -- use the generic ones only in the interim while you wait for your custom guard to arrive.
Check in With Yourself Periodically
Another way to help stop your jaw from clenching is to give the jaw muscles a short massage. You can gently rub each muscle in a circle or stroke the side of your jaws gently as well. Do this for a few minutes before you go to sleep each night, and try doing it at different times during the day.
Also, set reminders on your phone or computer (or whatever near you has some sort of alarm) to double-check if you've been clenching your teeth. If you're doing it during the day, it's an unconscious movement that you might not notice until your jaw starts to hurt. But if you remind yourself to keep checking what your jaw is doing, you can stop a clenching session before it gets too bad.
Start Ruminating on What's Causing You Stress
Sometimes it's obvious what's making your jaw go nuts -- your job is terrible, you're having problems with a particular person, and so on. Other times, it's not so obvious. There's a very good chance the clenching is due at least in part to stress, so start thinking through what's going on or coming up in your life. The stress could also be a leftover from a situation earlier on, too. Keep a journal for a while about when you find your jaw clenched and what you were doing at the time. What were you thinking or trying to move past? Eventually, you should see a pattern that indicates what may be behind the jaw clenching.
Talk to your dentist about addressing the clenching once and for all, and about getting a night guard. You don't have to accept that you're going to clench your teeth forever -- you can do something about this.
Contact a dental office like Centre Family Dentistry for more information and assistance.Share
3 September 2017
Toddlers should see a dentist for the first time by the age of twelve months or by the time their first tooth comes in. But if you are a parent with toddlers anything like mine, the prospect of going to the dentist (let alone anywhere!) can be pretty intimidating. My kids were a handful growing up. They had tantrums any time we would have to sit in a waiting room, and they refused to get in the dentist's chair during their first few visits. So, I had to employ a professional to help me make the transition to finally getting them in that dental chair without all the screaming and crying. I know I'm not the only parent in this situation, so I decided to share the information I've learned with others who can use a little help. You can find all my advice right here on these pages!