How to Stop Teeth Clenching at Night
Waking up with jaw pain? This could be caused by teeth grinding and/or clenching during sleep. In addition to jaw pain, one may also experience headaches, earaches, cracked, worn down, or fractured teeth, tooth mobility, tooth sensitivity, and other uncomfortable symptoms. Clenching your teeth at night can also worsen existing conditions like temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Catching and treating this habit early is key to preventing these significant dental issues.
Teeth clenching is a very common condition with many potential causes. But surprisingly, individuals may not even realize they are doing it throughout the night.
Thankfully, there are several ways to help stop teeth clenching:
A common way to prevent harm from teeth clenching at night is to wear a dental mouthguard. They cover the surfaces of your teeth, preventing the upper teeth from directly contacting the lower teeth. Mouthguards can be custom-made by your dental professional or bought over-the-counter at several sporting and drug stores. Although more expensive than over-the-counter mouthguards, custom-made mouthguards tend to be more effective and comfortable for individuals who clench their teeth at night. This is because they are designed to fit your exact teeth and bite, and the material is often of a higher quality.
Reductive or Additive Coronoplasty
Reductive coronoplasty involves reshaping or leveling the chewing surfaces of your teeth to reduce the stress from clenching and grinding. Additive coronoplasty may also be used to reduce stress by building up areas on the teeth.
In some instances, teeth clenching may be associated with muscle tension. Dental professionals may recommend repeated botulinum toxin (Botox) injections to treat teeth clenching and grinding. These injections into your jaw muscles can help relax the muscles and alleviate symptoms related to teeth clenching.
Researchers have found biofeedback therapy to offer short-term benefits for alleviating teeth grinding and clenching. It is designed to help train the jaw muscles to relax through a method called electromyography.
Teeth grinding and clenching have been linked to several mental health conditions like stress, depression, and anxiety. Activities that reduce stress including exercise, medication, massage therapy, mental health counselors, yoga, and deep breathing techniques can help reduce teeth clenching.
Tongue, jaw, and facial muscle exercises may help alleviate teeth clenching. You may be referred to a temporomandibular joint specialist who can guide you through these exercises through physical therapy.
Correction of Misaligned Teeth
An improper bite and crooked teeth may contribute to teeth clenching. Your dentist may refer you to an orthodontist, a dental specialist trained to diagnose and treat misaligned teeth and jaw abnormalities.
Avoid Caffeine & Alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol may impact the quality of your sleep. It is best to avoid these beverages particularly in the evening before going to bed.
Ultimately, your dental professionals can help determine if you grind or clench your teeth, as well as recommend the best treatment option for your specific case. If necessary, you may be referred to other dental specialists to help you manage teeth clenching.