Jaw clenching is essentially a habit that often arises during times of stress, and although it doesn’t include grinding still potentially destructive. Jaw clenching at night can cause the same types of symptoms as jaw grinding. The good news is that it’s a very treatable condition and you can learn how to stop your jaw from clenching at night.
Treatments for stopping jaw clenching at night
Stopping jaw clenching at night will generally include wearing a mouth guard, but this may not be enough to break the habit. Additional treatments may include relaxation exercises, dietary changes and therapies such as hypnosis and biofeedback.
Mouth guards are a direct way to interrupt the habit of jaw clenching, and some people find this treatment works very well on its own. This is because not only protects the teeth but provides a different sensory experience when biting down which can be enough to break the pattern. It’s definitely worth trying a mouth guard, as even if it doesn’t prove an effective enough treatment on its own, it will at least protect teeth until you find a treatment that works well for you.
Which kind is best?
You can get a custom-made mouth guard from your dentist, and if you have dental insurance it’s worth checking to see if you are covered for this appliance as the cost can be several hundred dollars. Your dentist may offer you an alternative type of mouth guard called an NTI-tss (NTI-tension suppression system) which fits over the front teeth. This works by placing jaw into a position where the muscles are forced to relax, but although treatment is very effective, it isn’t suitable for everyone.
Alternatively ready-made mouth guards can be bought very cheaply from drugstores or online, and these are sometimes called bite and boil mouth guards as they are heated up in hot water and then molded to fit your mouth. If you choose to buy a ready-made mouth guard is worth spending a bit of time adapting it to fit your mouth as best you can, as the better fit is, the more effective the appliance will be. Some people have extremely good results with these ready-made mouth guards, and you may think it’s worth spending a few dollars to see if they can help you before choosing more expensive remedies.
If you find you are still clenching your teeth night even while wearing a mouth guard you may want to try using another therapy in conjunction with your teeth guard. A couple of popular therapies include biofeedback and hypnosis.
Biofeedback is extremely effective at interrupting the habit of teeth clenching and involves being wired up to a machine whilst awake or asleep which can detect when the clenching action occurs. This triggers a sensory alert which brings the action into awareness. By bringing the action into awareness the sufferer has the potential to change the habit into a different pattern.
Hypnosis is a very good way of breaking the pattern of clenching teeth at night as it works by altering existing patterns of behavior and replacing them with a new way of thinking. Being hypnotized doesn’t involve losing control or awareness, and is more like having your imagination guided in a way that is deeply relaxing.