Clenching teeth at night is an uncomfortable experience and one that brings about negative side effects to your smile and jaw area as well. There is no specific answer as to why people clench and grind their teeth at night however, doctors believe that it is stress related condition and could be placed in the category with biting nails. That said, if you are one of those people who wake up with a headache, ear ache, jaw ache or any other teeth grinding effect, you will be glad to know that there is help and breaking this habit is possible.
How to Stop Clenching Teeth at Night
There are different methods you can try out to help you stop clenching teeth at night and these are:
- Prevent clenching during the day: The first way to can train yourself to stop clenching your teeth at night is by stopping during the day as well. While day clenching is less severe than night, it leads to a natural transition of clenching even while asleep. At night you are not conscious to control the habit.
- Separate teeth: Always ensure that your upper teeth do not meet your lower teeth by placing a bit of your tongue in between the two. By adapting this separation method, you are training yourself to separate the two and this can be naturally carried on even when asleep.
- Use night guards: If you cannot train yourself to separate your teeth, a mouth guard could help. Night guards are often the first solution dentist give to help stop teeth clenching and this gives instant relief from the morning headaches.
- Stop chewing gums: If you are one of those people who naturally loves chewing gum or cannot stay away from fountain pen lids, you may need to stop. This is because by constantly chewing on things, you are conditioning your mind to constant clenching.
- Try relaxation methods: It is important to have relaxation exercises that you do before you go to sleep. This could be a jaw massage to relieve tension or neck exercises.
- Manage stress: Since bruxism is highly associated with stress, it also helps to manage your stress levels. This can be done by taking some time off to address your issues or seeking professional help.
The above are just tips that can help you to stop clenching teeth at night. Treatment is essential in fully stopping the habit.
There are various treatment options that can help stop and deal with the reason behind your clenching teeth at night:
- Behavioral therapy
- Corrective surgery
Unlike mouth guards which are worn, splints are fitted on your teeth and are usually made from acrylic material. These are made to fit your teeth precisely. Your dentist can make them in the practice or alternatively take your teeth imprints and have them made in a laboratory. Surgery could also be performed if the cause of your clenching is TMJ misalignment. There are other methods to treat misalignment and surgery is the usually the last resort. Finally, your doctor may decide to use behavioral therapy to treat your teeth clenching.